Andy Murray progressed to his 11th straight slam quarter final with a 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Denis Istomin. The Scot did not have things all his own way and battled a determined opponent and difficult conditions to keep his title hopes alive.
Murray struggled to to maintain consistency in windy conditions. Istomin, whom Murray had met once before, played an excellent first set but was ultimately unable to cope with Murray's superior quality.
Slow starts have been a theme in Murray's US Open matches this year, and this continued on a blustry Arthur Ashe. Istomin settled sooner, holding with ease and keeping his opponent honest on serve.
The Uzbek had a sniff at 3-3 but Murray snuffed out the danger. The Scot's good work was undone in his very next service game with three forehand errors gifting the break.
Istomin, serving for the set, imploded. The Uzbek had barely made an error all set but suddenly offered up three in a row, giving Murray three break back points. Istomin saved the first but double faulted on the second. Murray was unable to make the breakthrough again and a tiebreak was needed to decide the set.
The decisive mini-break came at 5-4, with Murray serving for 6-4. A shout from the crowd interrupted his routine and the Scot promptly double faulted. An unforced error in the next point gave Istomin set point, which the Uzbek converted as Murray hit another backhand error.
The Scot was furious with himself for losing the set, and channeled that anger into blitzing his opponent in the second. The Wimbledon Champion upped his game considerably, making just two unforced errors as he raced through the set in 32 minutes.
An early break in the third saw Murray establish complete control, but Istomin was undeterred. The Uzbek kept the pressure on and was rewarded at 3-2, when the Scot once again lost focus. Istomin secured the break at the third time of asking as another Murray backhand lodged in the net.
What should have been a relatively straightforward encounter was threatening to turn into a dogfight, but Murray responded, breaking straight back and holding firm to serve for the set.
Two sets to one down, Istomin showed no signs of being discouraged. The Uzbek continued to play well, frustrating Murray until the ninth game. The Scot forced his way to 15-40 before converting after the wind pulled a seemingly New York bound lob back into the court.
This was not one of Murray's best performances, but he did well enough to get past a tricky opponent. Warwinka awaits in the next round. The Swiss is a tricky matchup for Murray, who will have to raise his game considerably to progress.