Monday, 6 September 2010

US OPEN 2010: It's hard labour as Andy Murray limps out to Stanislas Wawrinka

By Mike Dickson

Not in with a shout: Andy Murray struggled to get his first serve working and was frequently broken

Andy Murray limped out of the US Open last night, unable to keep body and mind together long enough to sustain his US Open challenge beyond America's Labour Day weekend.

A year after making a lame exit from the fourth round against Marin Cilic with a wrist problem, he made a similarly tame departure against old adversary Stanislas Wawrinka, apparently suffering from the effects of soreness around his left knee.

Murray's Grand Slam dreams remain no more than a fantasy for now after a sometimes bizarre encounter lasting three hours, 56 minutes saw him run out a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-3 loser.

Hard labour indeed, and even after he developed problems with knee and, latterly, his back he had struggled to control his emotions in the face of an aggressive onslaught from the 25th seed.

It was a regressive performance from Murray, one in which he played too defensively and let his opponent take the initiative, coupled wi th plenty of adolescent petulance.

At one stage in the third set there were two physios out on court administering running repairs, although Wawrinka's jarring of his right thigh scarcely appeared to affect him.

As day turned to night and defeat loomed, Murray's treatment saw him flat on his back having his head wiggled around by the medic. At least there was proof the Scot's head was still attached to his shoulders, because it seemed all over the place in this match.

Frustration: Murray's body language was often lacking and he was quick to anger

Murray said he was not badly injured but had suffered pins and needles in his elbow and tightness in his thigh muscle. 'I'm not blaming that, it's part and parcel of playing a long match,' he said. 'I started feeling problems at the start of the third set and I got very frustrated with that, it hasn't happened for a long while that I've struggled physically in a match because of the work I do, and I've got to find out why it happened.'

What is beyond dispute is that No 4 seed was in a fit enough state to lead by a set and 5-3 against an opponent who was at the top of his game for all but a brief period in the third set. And there had not been any sign of the drama to come, other than Murray's seething frustration.

Murray knows how dangerous the barrel-chested Swiss can be, their last meeting having been the famous night at Wimbledon last year when the roof was closed by the mere threat of rain and a fiveset classic ensued. Murray soon lapsed into his tendency of being too conservative and fell behind 2-5 after failing to take any of four break points in the second game. But he got back for 4-5 and took the tiebreak 7-3.

When he went up 3-0 in the second it seemed an early finish might be in order but then Murray retreated back into his behind-thebaseline comfort zone.

Twice he played appalling service games, at 3-1 and 5-3, and struggled to contain his frustration as Wawrinka hoisted himself back towards a second tiebreak. The air of cautiousness and constant hitting of the ball short saw Wawrinka deservingly level by taking the tiebreak 7-4.

Walking wounded: Wawrinka needed two visits from the trainer to Murray's one, as both players felt injuries

Another dreadful game from Murray, who was getting virtually no free points on his serve, saw him call the trainer on for treatment on his left leg. But then at 4-1 Wawrinka pulled up badly after lunging for a backhand on the baseline.

He immediately stopped with Murray 40-15 up on his serve and summoned the trainer to rub and strap the quadracep on the front of his hulking right thigh.

The match continued in a sort of more-ill-than-thou kind of way but Wawrinka gained more resolve as he neared the finishing line as Murray, constantly chuntering to his support bench, became more resigned to his fate.

source :dailymail

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