Second seed Andy Murray was ousted from the US Open by Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in a lopsided result as surprising for its score as the player he lost to in the fourth round tonight.
Cilic overcame two set points in the first set, then pounded Murray over the last two to make his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. Murray, who lost to Roger Federer in the final at Flushing Meadows last year, will finish 2009 without making a major final.
The match ended in the late afternoon in New York, and just before newspaper deadlines back in England, where the sports sections follow Murray's every move. Certainly, those headlines won't be nice on Wednesday morning.
How to explain this loss, against the 16th-seeded Croatian he had beaten in their three previous meetings?
Murray was holding his left wrist and grimacing in pain early in the second set. Beyond that, he simply looked flat.
Cilic said the set points he saved, trailing 4-5 in the first, were the turning point. He responded by getting to 0-40 ahead on Murray's serve in the next game, won the second break point, then cruised from there for his first win over any opponent ranked in the top three.
"It was a relief for me to start getting more into the game," Cilic said. "I didn't have to think too much. I played good, played tactically well, and he was missing."