NEW YORK: Defending champion Andy Murray crashed out of the US Open on Thursday as Stanislas Wawrinka pulled a shocker to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final, a matchup with world number one Novak Djokovic.
Swiss ninth seed Wawrinka stunned the Olympic and Wimbledon champion 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, to book a last-four date with Djokovic, the 2011 winner from Serbia who ousted Russian 21st seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
“I feel great. I’m really happy. It’s amazing for me to be in my first semi-final in a Slam,” Wawrinka said. “To beat him in three sets the way I was playing is good.”
For only the second time in 146 Grand Slam matches, Murray failed to manage even one break point.
“He played great. That was the hardest part about the match,” Murray said.
“He just hit the ball extremely well. I didn’t create a break point chance. He served well. He hit a lot of lines and was going for big shots.”
Reaching his seventh US Open semi-final in a row in hopes of a fourth trip in a row to the final, Djokovic lost his first set of the fortnight but reached his 14th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final, the second-longest all-time streak.
“Definitely (I’m proud),” Djokovic said. “I’ve always been trying to play my best tennis at a Grand Slam and every Grand Slam offers something different.”
Spanish second seed Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, and French eighth seed Richard Gasquet, whose only prior last-four Slam run came in 2007 at Wimbledon, will meet in Saturday’s other semi-final.
Wawrinka is only 2-12 versus Djokovic, including fourth-round losses at last year’s US Open and this year’s Australian Open, but reigning Australian Open champion Djokovic says he’ll forget about his 11-match win streak over the Swiss.
“It’s going to be a very close match. I think there is no clear favorite,” Djokovic said. “He showed why he deserves to be in the top 10 in the world. I also feel good on the hardcourts and quite confident.”
Wawrinka, deeper in a Slam for the first time than 17-time major champion compatriot Roger Federer who bowed in the fourth round, used relentless pressure to wear down Murray.
“The first set was not really easy. It was very windy,” Wawrinka said. “We were trying to find the game. To get that gave me a little bit of confidence.”
Wawrinka ignored the wind to fire 45 winners, three times Murray’s total.