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No. 2 Andy Murray falls to No. 6 Kei Nishikori in U.S. Open quarterfinals

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/09/2016 Nick McCarvel
Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts to a "let" call by the chair umpire as a sound disrupted play while playing Kei Nishikori of Japan on day ten of the 2016 U.S. Open. © Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts to a "let" call by the chair umpire as a sound disrupted play while playing Kei Nishikori of Japan on day ten of the 2016 U.S. Open.

NEW YORK – In a bizarre quarterfinal Wednesday at the U.S. Open, reigning Wimbledon and Olympic champion Andy Murray was shocked by No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori in five sets, 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

The loss puts Murray, the No. 2 seed, out of a major tournament before the championship match for the first time this year. After runner-up finishes at both the Australian and French Opens to Novak Djokovic, Murray won at the All England Club for a second time in his career.

Djokovic, the defending champion here, had already moved into the semifinals on Tuesday. He’s due to meet Gael Monfils on Friday.

Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin Del Potro will play Wednesday night for the right to face Nishikori, a 2014 finalist here, in the final four.

It’s a shocking and disappointing loss for Murray, who many had favored over Djokovic as the one to beat in Flushing Meadows. He had won 26 of 27 matches dating back to a Wimbledon warm-up event, his lone loss coming to Marin Cilic in Cincinnati.

The match took a turn in the second set when rain in the area caused the roof to close, Murray leading 6-1, 3-all. But Nishikori would break after 20 minutes off court for the 6-4 second set.

After Murray took a two-sets-to-one lead, a strange gong noise seemingly coming from the stadium’s PA system went off not once but twice in the fourth set, prompting complaints from Murray to the chair umpire, Maria Cicak, as well as the tournament supervisor, Wayne McKewen.

A trapped butterfly, unable to fly out of the stadium, even became a storyline, at one point appearing to distract Murray on a miss. The butterfly, which Murray batted at with his racket before the start of the fifth set, was collected by a ball person and removed from the stadium.

Murray twice fought back from being a break down in the fifth set, trailing Nishikori by 0-2 and then again 2-4. Nishikori led 40-love on his service game at 4-2, only to watch Murray win five straight points. 

It is the first time Nishikori is into a major semifinal since he lost to Cilic here in the 2014 U.S. Open final. He beat Djokovic in the semifinals that year. He was the first Japanese man to reach a major semifinal in singles in the Open era.

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