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Sep 8, 2015 12:12 AM

Murray's major QF streak ends with US Open loss to Anderson

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) Andy Murray watched a 130 mph ace zoom by to create a two-set deficit at the U.S. Open, and then sat in his changeover chair and cursed at himself, over and over and over.

A little later, Murray cracked his racket against the court once, breaking the frame, and went to the sideline and mangled his equipment even more, before meandering over to hand it to someone in the stands.

Often able to spur himself by letting out some anger, the two-time Grand Slam title winner only briefly managed to get into this match. The third-seeded Murray lost before the quarterfinals at a major for the first time since 2010, beaten 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (0) by 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

"Disappointing to lose because of that," Murray said about his earlier-than-usual exit. "Obviously that's many years' work that's gone into building that sort of consistency."

For the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson, known mainly for a booming serve but terrific off the ground in this 4-hour, 18-minute victory, it marked a real breakthrough: He entered with an 0-7 record in fourth-round matches at majors, including when he had a two-set lead against Novak Djokovic before losing at Wimbledon two months ago.

This time, Anderson held it together, with the help of 25 aces and 81 total winners.

"I'm a little lost for words right now," said Anderson, who will face two-time major champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. "I just managed to keep my composure throughout."

Murray, meanwhile, reached at least the quarters at his previous 18 Grand Slam tournaments, a streak that included championships at the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013, along with four runner-up finishes. His last loss this soon also happened in New York, in the third round five years ago.

Roger Federer also pulled off a shutout in a tiebreaker Monday, doing so in a 7-6 (0), 7-6 (6), 7-5 victory against big-serving No. 13 John Isner. According to the ATP, Isner had never been beaten 7-0 in 428 previous official, tour-level tiebreakers.

With Isner gone, and 68th-ranked American Donald Young eliminated 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Wawrinka earlier Monday, it's the 16th Grand Slam tournament in a row with zero men from the U.S. in the quarterfinals.

Isner had his chances against Federer, six times standing two points from evening the match at a set apiece. But Federer was masterful down the stretch in that tiebreaker, winning one point by returning a 140 mph serve before smacking a forehand passing winner, then using a forehand return winner off a 128 mph serve to earn a set point he converted with a backhand down the line.

Federer broke in the last game, ending Isner's streak of 110 service holds in a row at the U.S. Open, dating to the start of last year's tournament.

Federer's quarterfinal opponent will be No. 12 Richard Gasquet, who got past No. 6 Tomas Berdych 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

Two women's quarterfinals will be No. 2 Simona Halep against No. 20 Victoria Azarenka, and No. 5 Petra Kvitova against No. 26 Flavia Pennetta.

Azarenka has won two Australian Open titles and twice was the runner-up at the U.S. Open. Kvitova has won Wimbledon twice. Halep was the runner-up at last year's French Open. And Pennetta? Well, she is into her sixth U.S. Open quarterfinal in the last seven years after a 6-4, 6-4 victory against 2011 champion Sam Stosur, the last woman to beat Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows.

Adept at comebacks in the second round, he recorded his eighth victory in a match after dropping the opening two sets Murray did push Anderson to a fourth set, but that was the extent of the rally this time.

Still, Murray kept trying to rile up himself and his backers as the fourth set carried on, even reaching over to slap the extended palm of a front-row spectator.

"I was trying to use the energy of the crowd as much as I could to help me," Murray said.

Anderson limited his signs of emotion to one uppercut after winning a point by tracking down a lob and conjuring up a sky-hook winner from the baseline.

And he was perfect at the end, hitting one ace at 135 mph, another at 138 mph, while Murray couldn't get his strokes to land in the right spots.

"I wish," Anderson said, "I could play every tiebreak like that."


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


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