In one of the best match of the tournament, Kei Nishikori outlasted Andy Murray Wednesday afternoon at the US Open in a 5-set thriller 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the semifinals.
Murray led early and win charge 6-1, 3-3 but a rain delay forced the closure of the roof, and Nishikori returned as a better player.
Murray, who had beaten the Japanese in seven of eight matches, led by two sets to one and held break chances in the fourth when a fluke gong sound interrupted play as Murray tried to go for the break.
The point was replayed and it was Nishikori winning, and then taking seven straight games. Murray fought back from a break down in the fifth but couldn’t keep up with Nishikori who reached his second US Open semifinal.
Murray was 23-7 in best-of-5 matches and had won 17 of his last 19, losing only to Novak Djokovic.
Murray, though, said he was proud of his summer in which he won a second Wimbledon and second gold.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How disappointed? Back and forth match. Seemed like you had the momentum going for a bit.
ANDY MURRAY: I’m not disappointed in a way. Obviously I would have loved to have won, but I have had a good run every match. I would have loved to have gone further, but it wasn’t to be today.
Q. Could you talk us through the dispute with or the conversation with Wayne McKewen, and what exactly was the result…
ANDY MURRAY: Stopped the point, and I was just curious why that was and that was it.
Q. You were saying that you had heard the noise in the first set. She said that you would play on?
ANDY MURRAY: Wayne McKewen told me that it happened four times during the match that the speakers had gone off like that. I had only heard it one time before, which was on set point in the second set. That was it.
Q. You had a period of seven straight games…
ANDY MURRAY: Definitely I would say to 4-1 I didn’t play a good game after I got out of the change of ends, and then, you know, he held pretty comfortably the next game.
But after that, I don’t think so. You know, there was a lot of time between then. I had a lot of game points in the 4-1 game; didn’t get it.
And, yeah, I lost my serve a couple of times from positions that when I was up in the game — you know, obviously you can get broken when you’re up in the game. I got broken once from 40-Love, once from 40-15, and at the end of the match I think I was up 30-15 in the game, as well. That was the difference.
Q. Were you more disappointed the way you were serving and so many times you had been broken or the way you returned? Because at the end of the match you were returning pretty poorly compared to your standard, in my opinion. I don’t know what you think.
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I mean, it was obviously different serving under the roof. I started off the match serving pretty well. You know, it obviously slows the conditions down so it becomes easier to return. You know, he started returning a bit better. I didn’t serve so well, obviously.
I don’t think the reason I lost the match was because of my return game. I broke serve enough times. I just didn’t hold serve enough. That was the difference.
Q. You didn’t know, but the rain didn’t last very long. It was bright sunshine and blue skies. Do you think they should readdress whether or not the roof should be open in that condition?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, it’s not really for me to say. We were told at the beginning of the event and also today that, you know, if the forecast’s good they will open the roof during the match if that’s the case. Why that didn’t happen today I don’t know.
Yeah, I mean, it’s not really for me to say. I mean, they have obviously delays and stuff and matches aren’t good for TV and people that are watching. You want a continuous match, for sure. You want to try and complete as many matches outdoors as possible.
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I mean, I think definitely under the roof he was able to dictate more of the points. You know, he was playing a bit closer to the baseline than me and taking the ball on a little bit more.
You know, at times I was obviously doing more of the running, you know, whereas I think in the first set and a half and when we played in the Olympics, you know, that was the other way around.
Q. Any part of you feel that was the one that got away, or is that giving disservice to Kei?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, obviously I was in a good position up and a set and a break and chances at the beginning of the fourth set, as well. I could have won the match for sure.
But, you know, I have also won some over the last, you know, few months I should have lost. Against Steve Johnson at the Olympics I was down a couple of times.
The third set against Fognini, I was down a break in the third there.
Against Tsonga at Wimbledon I was up, but that could have gone the other way in the beginning of the fifth.
You know, it happens sometimes. You win them. I have won a lot over the last few months, but couldn’t quite get it going my way today.
Q. How much do you think the workload that you have had comes into that in terms of the resources you have left?
ANDY MURRAY: Um, I don’t know. I felt all right today. You know, I felt all right. Kei has played a lot of tennis, as well, though, over the last few months, for sure.
But, you know, this slam in particular I think for all of the players, especially the ones, you know, that have done well over the summer period on the hard courts, it’s, you know, a tough one.
You know, Kei will be feeling it, as well as a lot of the players. Yeah, I don’t think that had an impact on the match today.
Q. Kei hurt you a lot with the dropshots. Did you know that was coming? Did he use it a little bit more than you expected? You didn’t seem to have an answer for it. It was disguised pretty well.
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, a couple of them. I didn’t lose all the points. I won a number of them.
But when you’re — like I said, when he’s playing close to the baseline and you’re the one that’s further back, it leaves more space at the front of the court to use a dropshot.
I got a little bit unfortunate on the break point at 5-All, the volley that he made that’s not going in every time. You know, that was a big moment in the match, obviously, at that stage.
Q. It’s still early. When do you think you’ll head up to Glasgow?
ANDY MURRAY: No idea. I haven’t thought anything about when I would leave. I was obviously focused purely on this week and obviously wanted to go further.
I don’t know when I’ll go there. I don’t know how many days off I’ll take or how much or when I’ll start practicing up there. You know, I’m due a few days off, and I’ll use them well, because I will need a lot of energy for that tie.
Q. (Question regarding playing on home soil.)
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, obviously I’ll look forward to the match. It should be a great, great atmosphere, great occasion. You know, I would like a little bit more time off, which obviously I will get when Davis Cup is done, but I just need to be smart in the next few days.
Because like I said, I need a lot of energy for those ties. Davis Cup, you know, does take a lot out of you over the weekend. It’s tough, especially if you play all three days. You know, I’ll need to be smart the next few days to make sure that not only physically I recover, but mentally, as well, because it’s always a stressful few days.
Q. There are five men left in the draw now. How do you see it playing out?
ANDY MURRAY: I’d say Novak would be the favorite. I mean, obviously a lot of top, top players left. Gaël has been playing very well. I think in their head to heads, Novak has had quite a little bit of success.
You know, the bottom part of the draw it’s obviously difficult to pick. They’re all top players, I think. You know, Stan and Juan will have a very good match tonight, I would expect.
You know, Kei is obviously capable on this surface of beating the best players and has beaten Novak here, as well, so you know, I would put Novak as the favorite, but everyone’s got a chance.
Q. I know it’s early after the match and disappointment we talked about, but the takeaway from the summer, do you look back and say, It was a heck of a summer? Or are you kind of leaving let down by coming up short?
ANDY MURRAY: I have not let anyone down. I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had today. I didn’t let anyone down. Certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.
You know, if someone had offered me the summer that I have had before Wimbledon, I probably would have signed for that. You know, asking me right now is pointless. I’m not going to have the best perspective on things right this minute, but, you know, after a few days, you know, away and stuff, I would imagine I’d be very happy with how I have done and, you know, learn from this match today and the summer as a whole, because, you know, it’s been tough. It’s been a hard summer.
And, yeah, I’m happy with how it’s gone. There’s just a few things I could do differently next time.
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