Andy Murray was knocked out of the US Open at the hands of Kei Nishikori in an enthralling quarterfinal match at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.
The Japanese, who lost out to Murray in the Olympic semifinals last month, recovered from a worrying start to come away with a 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory.
After struggling to cope with Murray's strong returning in the opening set, Nishikori battled back after a rain delay to stun the World No. 2. The result marks just a second victory for the 2014 finalist over Murray in nine attempts.
A long backhand from Nishikori earned Murray his first break to go 3-1 up, and the Briton's vicious return of serve saw him power to a swift first-set victory. Murray's dominance of the opening set faded in the second and, although he made the first break, Nishikori immediately pegged him back in a pattern that would later become a recurring theme.
After a pause for the roof to be closed, Nishikori levelled matters as Murray found the net following a long rally. Nishikori appeared to have the crowd on his side against a visibly frustrated Murray. The Japanese twice came up with an immediate response to Murray breaks during a tight third set, but the Olympic Champion made a third gain stick and held serve to go back in front.
Having started with a dominant 6-1 victory, Murray's match was flipped on its head when Nishikori claimed the fourth by the same scoreline as part of a seven-game winning run. Murray finally stemmed the tide by holding serve to pull back to 2-1 in the decider and he converted a second break point to pull level.
It proved to be brief respite for Murray, though, as Nishikori fired a winner down the left to regain the advantage, but a match of twists and turns had another twist — and turn — to come.
Murray's break to level at 4-4 had the feel of a moment that could shift the momentum in his favour, yet Nishikori — chasing just a second grand slam semifinal appearance — would come again.
A double fault from Murray handed Nishikori a break point that was duly converted to the fury of the Wimbledon Champion, and the 26-year-old held serve to wrap up a memorable win.
Nishikori  bt Murray  1-6 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-5
Nishikori - 48/60
Murray - 29/46
Nishikori - 1
Murray - 8
BREAK POINTS WON
Nishikori - 9/13
Murray - 8/15
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Nishikori - 60
Murray - 55
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Nishikori - 72/43
Murray - 69/39
Nishikori - 142
Murray - 130
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