By Laura Amato
Andy Murray was in complete control in the early part of his quarterfinal match at the US Open Wednesday, cruising to a win in the first set. Then it started to rain, forcing a suspension of play as the roof was closed over Arthur Ashe Stadium. And then a loud noise went off in the middle of the fourth set, forcing a replay on the point.
Somewhere between then and the final point of the fifth set, Murray, the No. 2 seed at the Open, lost a bit of his composure and the unprecedented run of success he experienced this summer was over. After nearly four hours of play, Murray was out at the Open, losing to Kei Nishikori, 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
“I’m not disappointed in a way,” Murray said. “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.”
Murray was nothing short of dominant in the opening set, but after the roof delay he couldn’t maintain his rhythm and Nishikori, the No. 6 seed, took the second set.
It was a back-and-forth affair for hours, but after the gong-like noise went off in the fourth set—which the USTA said was a malfunctioning digital audio sound processor at court level—Murray appeared to lose his focus.
He spoke with the chair umpire and a tournament official about the interruption and lost five games in a row to drop the set.
“Stopped the point, and I was just curious why that was and that was it,” Murray said. “[An Open official] 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.”
Murray did have a chance to take the set, battling back from being down at the break twice, but he double-faulted at 30-30 to give Nishikori a break point. The sixth-seed converted with a volley into a wide-open court.
It was a disappointing showing for Murray, who has been one of the most dominant players on the ATP Tour this summer. He lost in the final at the French Open, before going on to win Queen’s Club, Wimbledon and the gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
His only loss in the 27 matches before Wednesday came in the final of the Cincinnati event last month.
“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,” Murray said. “I could have won the match for sure.”
Nishikori will face Stan Wawrinka in the men’s semifinal after the No. 3 seed defeated Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
But while Nishikori is thinking upset, again, Murray was the first to admit that there’s now a clear favorite in Flushing Meadows—Novak Djokovic.
“I’d say Novak would be the favorite. I mean, obviously a lot of top, top players left,” Murray said. “I think in their head-to-heads, Novak has had quite a little bit of success.”