US Open 2014 Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic: Murray crashes out of final grand slam of the year after four-set battle

Murray loses 7-6 6-7 6-2 6-4 and fails to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam tournament for the first time since 2009

New York

Andy Murray’s US Open campaign is over for another year but the Scot could take pride in his performance after losing a typically gruelling quarter-final to Novak Djokovic.

The two long-term friends and rivals are used to pushing each other to the limit and fought toe-to-toe for more than three and a half hours before Djokovic completed a 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

This is the first year since 2009 that Murray has failed to reach a Grand Slam final but he should take plenty of positives from his performance against the world No 1. There were times when Murray played some of his best tennis since his return from the back operation he underwent nearly a year ago, though there was no doubt that Djokovic was the stronger player physically when the match finished at 1.17am.

While Murray did not suffer a repeat of the cramping which had troubled him in his first-round match, his back and hips stiffened up towards the end of the third set. His movement was clearly impaired in the latter stages, though he fought hard to remain in contention.

Read more: Williams marches on as she sees off Pennetta
Hutchins suffers mixed-doubles semi-final heartbreak
How Wozniacki bounced back

Murray had been on court for three and a half hours more than Djokovic over the first four rounds, which might have made a difference. However, the Scot said afterwards that he was disappointed to have struggled physically, especially given the hard work that he had put into his summer training camp in Miami.

“Physically I would say he was definitely fresher, but towards the end I tried to hang in as best I could,” Murray said afterwards. “He appeared fresher than me. Whether he was or not, I don't know, but maybe he does a better job of hiding it than me. The pace of my serve slowed significantly towards the end of the third set.”

It was hard to judge whether the outcome would have been any different if Murray had not had his physical problems, but in the first two sets in particular he had looked sharp. He was often the more aggressive player, even if the price he paid for that was a large number of unforced errors – 65 compared to Djokovic’s 48.

Murray went for his shots on both flanks and hit some stunning forehands in particular. Over the years his backhand has been his most productive flank, but his cross-court forehands, driven low and flat with huge power, were a potent weapon here.

Djokovic, playing in his 22nd consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, had not dropped a set in his first four matches and had dropped his serve only four times, but was pushed hard. Crucially, however, the Serb played the big points better than the Scot. Murray forced 16 break points but converted only four of them, whereas Djokovic had only 10 break points but converted seven.

The world No 1 is through to his eighth consecutive US Open semi-final, which equals the mark of Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl but is still four short of Jimmy Connors’ Open era record. Djokovic will next play Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who reached his first Grand Slam semi-final when he beat Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 in a match that lasted four and a quarter hours.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Andy Murray of Great Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match on Day Ten of the 2014 US Open Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Andy Murray of Great Britain in their men's singles quarterfinal match on Day Ten of the 2014 US Open After the start of the evening session had been delayed by Nishikori’s marathon victory, Murray’s match did not begin until 9.43pm, though that might have been a blessing in disguise. The temperature on another glorious day had peaked at 32C in the afternoon and even at this stage of the evening it was still 26C. Although there was a breeze at the start, it quickly calmed down as the match got under way.

Murray had plenty of chances to take control of the first set, which lasted 73 minutes. He had break points in Djokovic’s first five service games and was admirably aggressive, but made too many unforced errors and did not put enough first serves in court.

Although Murray started confidently enough, cracking a big backhand return winner on the very first point and breaking in the opening game, he was soon 4-1 down. Djokovic was furious with himself when Murray broke back in the seventh game and smashed his racket into his chair at the change of ends.

Until this point the stadium had been relatively subdued, but as the level of the tennis rose so did the noise from the crowd, with some encouragement from both players. Djokovic, having just saved a break point at 4-4, urged the spectators to pump up the volume after winning a superb 29-shot rally. On the next point Murray did the same after striking a fine backhand winner down the line.

Murray reacts to a decision against Djokovic Murray reacts to a decision against Djokovic While the opening set could hardly have been closer, the subsequent tie-break could hardly have been more one-sided. Djokovic won the first four points, taking advantage of some mediocre serving by Murray, and eventually won it 7-1, converting his first set point with a service winner. In his 21 meetings with Djokovic, Murray has never won after losing the first set.

The second set bore similarities to the first. Djokovic again took an early lead, breaking in the third game, before Murray levelled at 3-3 with a bold backhand cross-court pass. It was the first of three successive breaks of serve.

Djokovic saved a set point with a volley winner at 5-6, but was outplayed in the tie-break. This time it was Murray’s turn to win 7-1, also completing the job at the first attempt with a service winner. With the clock approaching midnight, it was time to start what would effectively be a best-of-three-sets match.

In the third set Djokovic again took an early lead, breaking to go 3-1 up, and this time Murray could not find a way back. He had two break points in the following game, but on the first hit a backhand long at the end of a splendid 27-stroke rally and on the second put a loose forehand in the net.

Murray was furious with himself, while Djokovic, perhaps sensing how important the game would be, celebrated holding serve as if he had won the set. Three games later the world No 1 did exactly that, capitalising on some tired mistakes by Murray to break serve for the sixth time and take the set.

Murray congratulates Djokovic after his US Open quarter-final defeat Murray congratulates Djokovic after his US Open quarter-final defeat By now Murray was clearly in some physical difficulty. His legs lacked their usual energy and he moved stiffly between points. There were no breaks of serve in the fourth set until the final game. Murray went 15-40 down and Djokovic converted his first match point when the Scot netted a backhand.

Murray said it had been “a good tournament”. He added: “I played some nice tennis at times. There are definitely a few things I can do better to keep working on and improving, but it's a shame. Obviously the Slams are over for this year, so I have to wait a few months before the next one.”

News
people

Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
News
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
News
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee
people

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon

News
news

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Database Administrator

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...

Science Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...

Deputy Head of Science

£22000 - £36000 per annum + MPR / UPR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our cli...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London