Andy Murray came from a set and two breaks down to book his place in the semi-finals of the US Open with a 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Marin Cilic.
From the abysmal to the sublime - only with Andy Murray do you get such a rollercoaster in the space of one match. It was an incredible turnaround from the Brit, who looked down and out at 3-6, 1-5 after an alarmingly poor start. But a stunning comeback, aided by a nervous Cilic, saw Murray win 18 of the last 21 games to surge into his second successive US Open semi-final in impressive style.
The Brit got off to a slow start and was broken to love in his opening service game; a handful of errors handing Cilic the first break of the match. Murray was looking deflated and despite breaking back at 2-4, another loose service game saw him hand the break straight back. Cilic wrapped the first set up without major problems, and was looking well in control.
Murray was looking back to his old self, moaning towards his box and launching his racquet to the floor after yet another error, which saw Cilic break straight away in the second set. The Croat was back at a level somewhere near his best, and was showing that today with some heavy hitting. It was he who was dictating the points and it was the third seed that looked out of ideas. A couple of rare errors from the 12th seed gave Murray some opportunities to break back, but the Brit couldn’t take advantage and Cilic surged into a 6-3, 2-0 lead.Read more (471 words)
The dreams of a first grand slam were ebbing away, and at 3-1 Cilic broke again after yet another Murray forehand found the net. The third seed was earning himself occasional break points, but the Croat proved too good, often serving his way out of trouble.
But just when it seemed Cilic was coasting toward a two set lead, the tide turned in dramatic fashion. Murray got one of the breaks back before a more comfortable service game forced the world number 13 to serve for it again. But the Brit fired his way to three more break points, and suddenly the whole complexity of the match changed. Three big serves allowed the Croat to save the break points, but Murray was unperturbed, and earned himself another break point after a long rally. And then Cilic choked, double faulting to allow the Olympic champion to level the set.
The momentum had completely changed and it was now Murray holding to love, making it five games in a row. The Croat was able to stop the run to take it to a tie-break, but his efforts to save the set proved futile. Despite falling 2-4 down, Murray was able to win the next four points in a row to earn a set point, before Cilic stuck another backhand into the net to seal an unlikely comeback from 1-5 down.
The confidence was back and Murray seemed to have found his form again. Some big serving from both players saw two successive holds apiece, but it was Murray who finally broke through. A couple of errors from Cilic at 40-15 took it to deuce, and the Scot took full advantage, firing two backhand winners beyond the Croat to put himself ahead in the encounter for the first time. He dug himself out of a tricky service game of his own with a couple of big serves, before stepping it up another gear. A return winner set up three break points and Murray took the second, before serving it out for a two sets to one lead, despite facing a break point.
In the space of an hour the complexity of the match had changed dramatically, and it was now the third seed that was dictating the points as Cilic floundered. It was little surprise when Murray broke right at the start of the fourth, thanks largely to a tired looking Cilic who was struggling to keep the ball in court. And that was enough to take the fight out of the Croatian, as Murray cruised through the fourth set at a level somewhere near his best, bagelling his opponent to secure his place in the semi-finals for the second year running.
Murray will take on the victor of top seed Roger Federer and sixth seed Tomas Berdych for a place in the final.