Andy Murray surged into the semi finals of the US Open after a fascinating 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 victory over John Isner.
Murray is still searching for his maiden Slam title, but this victory makes him only the seventh player in the Open era to reach the semis of all four slams in the same calendar year. The best player to never win a slam (so far)? Almost certainly.
It would be unfair to describe Isner as an all serve mug, but the American's game does depend heavily on that delivery. Murray has consistently been one of the best returners on tour since his professional debut so all signs were pointing towards a fascinating encounter.
As play got under way it became apparent that Isner had taken a page out of the Andy Roddick play book, rushing the net with gay abandon. This tactic rarely works for the sweaty American, and it didn't offer much joy for his baby-faced counter part. Murray's passing shots were simply sublime and Isner was frequently left groping at the net like a blind man in a brothel.Read more (255 words)
Despite this, a combination of unreturnable serves and the ocassional hammered forehand allowed the American to hold serve until 5-5. Murray clearly had no desire to play a tie-break and upped his game. Two jaw dropping cross court passing shots and a generous double fault gave the Scot two break points, and he duly converted when Isner spooned a short forehand well long.
Murray strolled through a drama free service game to seal the set.
Isner needed to re-establish himself in the match, but Murray was in no mood to be generous. An immediate break of serve at the start of the second set was all the Scot needed to motor into a two set lead.
Murray is frequently guilty of concentration lapses, and one such moment in the second game of the third set gifted Isner an improbable break. The American took his chance, and after saving a break point of his own in the fifth game quickly served out to take the set.
In the fourth set both players were largely untroubled on serve. Murray faced two break points in the ninth game, but a booming ace and a sensational forehand volley averted the danger.
Isner has an incredible tiebreak record, with a career win ratio of almost 70% - so Murray fans were understandably concerned as the Scot was unable to fashion any break chances of his own and the set inevitably culminated in a shootout.
Any worries were quickly soothed as Murray overpowered the American to register a mightily impressive win.