NEW YORK — Third-seeded Andy Murray climbed back into his match against No. 15 Kevin Anderson on Monday after falling behind by two sets and a break, destroying a racket and yelling at his fans, his coaches and himself in the process.
But Anderson closed him out in a fourth-set tiebreak, winning seven straight points to advance, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-7 (7-2), 7-6 (7-0), in a fourth-round match at the U.S. Open. The win puts Anderson, a 29-year-old from South Africa, in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time.
“I’m a little lost for words right now,” Anderson told an on-court reporter. “Honestly, I played one of the best matches of my life. . . . It feels very — just amazing.”
Meanwhile, Murray’s loss ends a streak of 18 straight Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances for the 2012 U.S. Open champion, not including the 2013 French Open, which he missed with a back injury.
“Obviously, that’s many years’ work that’s gone into building that sort of consistency,” Murray said. “To lose that is tough.”
Earlier this year at Wimbledon, Anderson grabbed a two-set lead over No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a fourth-round match, only to let Djokovic come back and win in five sets.
Monday’s match, the longest of the tournament so far at 4 hours 18 minutes, headed in that direction after Murray took the 70-minute battle of a third set.
Neither player earned a break in the fourth set, with Anderson squandering both of his break-point chances and Murray not earning any, sending the players to a third tiebreaker in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Anderson won all seven points in that tiebreaker, including a 20-shot rally that ended in an unforced error from Murray.
After Murray ended the match by hitting a forehand into the net, Anderson put his hands on his head, holding them there for a moment before pulling off his hat.
Before No. 2 seed Simona Halep celebrated her final winner of a 6-7 (8-6), 7-5, 6-2 victory over No. 24 Sabine Lisicki with a fist pump, she leaned forward on her racket, heaving a breath while taking pressure off her injured left leg.
After shaking hands with Lisicki and the court umpire and waving to the crowd, Halep beelined to her chair, easing herself into it before hanging her head, elbows on knees.
That’s how the match went for the 23-year-old: moments of success surrounded by pain and frustration. When her leg was not hurting, Halep’s back started cramping, she said.
“Today was really tough against Lisicki because she was hitting strong. I had just to stay there, to run a lot,” Halep said. “That’s why I felt my muscle.”
With her 2-hour 38-minute fourth-round win, Halep earned her first quarterfinal appearance in New York.
“I have last eight badge now,” Halep said. “It was a big goal.”
Still remaining on Halep’s to-do list is winning a Grand Slam title.
“I had many expectations in French Open and Wimbledon and wasn’t good, so here I changed a little bit my mind, and I have no expectations,” Halep said. “I have no pressure.”
The first break of the fourth-round match between No. 2 seed Roger Federer and No. 13 John Isner came on the final point, as Isner missed a volley to seal a 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 defeat.
Isner’s loss means no American male will reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals for the fourth straight year.
Isner’s 7-0 loss in the first-set tiebreak was the first scoreless tiebreak of his pro career.
“Obviously John has one of the best serves in the game,” Federer said. “I think especially the pace on his second serve is unreal, yeah, so I think you’ve just got to hang around.”
Earlier, No. 5 seed Stan Wawrinka won his first set but dropped the second as American Donald Young overcame a deficit here for the fourth time. But Wawrinka prevented Young from pulling off another upset, winning, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.(The Washington Post)