US Open: Andy Murray faces a tougher ride than Novak Djokovic


Flushing Meadows

On the basis of their form so far at the US Open it is no surprise that the bookmakers consider Novak Djokovic a better bet than Andy Murray to win the title next Monday. It is equally no surprise that Murray, who is seeded to meet Djokovic in the semi-finals, brushes aside talk of favourites.

"I always say that in tennis, and any individual sport, it doesn't really matter what happened two days ago," Murray said in the wake of his fourth-round victory over Denis Istomin, the world No 65. "You turn up on the day of the next match and you might feel awful. You never know. It doesn't matter how you've played up to this point. You can always get better – or get worse. I saw some of Novak's match today. It looked like he played extremely well. But the matches will get tougher now."

While Murray needed more than three hours to beat Istomin 6-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, Djokovic took just 79 minutes to trounce the world No 43, Marcel Granollers, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0.

Djokovic, who dropped only four games in the previous round against Joao Sousa and has won all four of his matches in straight sets, will be strong favourite to win his quarter-final today against the world No 24, Mikhail Youzhny, who needed four hours to overcome Lleyton Hewitt.

Murray, who has dropped sets against Istomin and Leonardo Mayer, faces a significantly tougher quarter-final against Stanislas Wawrinka, the world No 10, who knocked out Tomas Berdych.

Wawrinka has long lived in the shadow of his fellow countryman Roger Federer, but at the present rate the 28-year-old could overtake his Swiss Davis Cup doubles partner in the rankings by the end of the year.

This is the first time that he has gone further in a Grand Slam tournament than Federer and it is by no means inconceivable that he could be the man to deny his friend a place in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

This has been the best year of Wawrinka's career. He has played in four finals, winning one, reached the quarter-finals at the French Open and went closer to denying Djokovic the Australian Open title than anyone, losing a five-hour marathon after the world No 1 won the fifth set 12-10.

"I'm really happy with my year and what I'm doing right now, but I would prefer to still have Roger playing in the tournament," Wawrinka said. "I watched his match [against Tommy Robredo] and it was not that good. I was sad for him, because he's a good friend and I like it when he's winning Grand Slam titles. I hope he will come back stronger."

Murray has won eight of his 13 meetings with Wawrinka, but honours are even at Flushing Meadows. Murray won in three sets in the third round in 2008 but Wawrinka won in four sets in the fourth round two years later. That was the last occasion when Murray failed to reach the quarter-finals or better of a Grand Slam event, apart from this year's French Open, which he missed through injury.

"I didn't play particularly well," Murray said of the 2010 meeting in Louis Armstrong Stadium. "I struggled on that court, so I don't have particularly good memories from that match. I did go away from that match a bit down. It was a tough loss for me for sure. But I also played him in Arthur Ashe Stadium in a night match and played really well, so I've had an interesting mix against him.

"I'll need to play a good match. I think he's improved quite a bit this year. Some of the things he didn't do so well before he's improved, so he has fewer weaknesses. He's more experienced now. He has a very good backhand, he serves well, he's solid up at the net, he makes a lot of returns. He makes it very tricky for you. He's a top player. It will be a very tough match for me.

"Hopefully, I'll start playing a little bit better from now on. Sometimes I've played very well in the first week of a Slam. Sometimes you maybe feel like there's a little bit of something to lose. But I'm in the quarter-finals of a Slam. It's not an easy thing to do and the matches are going to get tougher. I'll have to up my game."


Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all failed
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?