Murray unravels, Nishikori advances
NEW YORK — Andy Murray lost his way, seven consecutive games and, eventually, his riveting fiveset U.S. Open quarterfinal against Kei Nishikori after a loud noise from a malfunctioning sound system interrupted a key point, resulting in a do-over.
Whether the gong-like sound and chair umpire Marija Cicak’s let ruling was the reason Nishikori wound up coming back to win 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 on Wednesday surely will be what’s most debated about the back-and-forth, 4-hour match.
After all, Murray’s extended discussions with Cicak and another official about the unusual episode came during a stretch in which he dropped 12 of 14 points.
He went from a lead of two sets to one, plus a break point at 1-all, to ceding the fourth set and trailing 2-0 in the fifth.
“I could have won the match for sure,” said Murray, the No. 2 seed.
Murray acknowledged a brief dip in play but pre- ferred to focus on other reasons for allowing the sixth-seeded Nishikori to reach a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time since he was the U.S. Open runner-up two years ago.
“I broke serve enough times,” Murray said. “I just didn’t hold serve enough. That was the difference.”
Despite all the fuss, Murray went ahead 5-4 in the fifth. But he didn’t take another game. At 5-all, 30all, Murray double-faulted to set up break point, and Nishikori converted by reaching for a stretch volley winner.
“It was too exciting on the court, but I tried to stay calm,” Nishikori said. “There were many ups and downs.”
In the women’s quarterfinals, Serena Williams was broken for the first time in the tournament and lost a set for the first time, but she got past No. 5 Simona Halep 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. On Thursday, Williams faces 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who reached the first major semifinal of her career by eliminating18-year-old Ana Konjuh 6-2, 6-2.
Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, gets pumped up during his five-set upset of No. 2 seed Andy Murray.