A clearly injured Andy Murray today faded badly in the fourth and fifth sets of his Wimbledon quarter-final against Sam Querrey, capitulating 3-6 6-4 6-7 6-1 6-1 against the American.
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Murray’s hip has been the subject of fierce debate throughout these championships. The Scot had done his best to hide the extent of the injury. But there was no disguising it today, as he hobbled between points and leant on his racket.
Murray started brightly enough, taking the first eight points. The top seed consolidated that break to take the first set 6-3.
At 3-3 in the second set, a double-fault from Querrey followed by a crosscourt backhand and a drilled pass down the line from Murray earned a break of serve. The Scot seemed set fair for an eighth win in nine matches against the 6-foot 6-inch American.
But Querrey struck back immediately, held serve and was able to exert enough pressure on the following Murray delivery to seal the set.
Murray regrouped to break at the start of the third and held his advantage until 5-4. Serving for the set, the world number one suddenly looked less than mobile and the American broke back.
The reigning Wimbledon champion somehow scrambled to a tiebreak, which Querrey played wretchedly, Murray serving out for 7-4.
From thereon in, it became abundantly clear that the Scot was hobbled. In each of the final two sets, he won just nine points on serve and clocked an average speed on his first delivery of only 108mph.
Towards the end of the final set, it seemed Murray had resigned himself to his fate when the world number 28 sent down a couple of aces that Murray didn’t even attempt to send back.
Credit to Querrey for keeping his composure but, in truth, the American had to do very little to depose the reigning Wimbledon champion for the second year running. He sealed the match with his 27th ace.
Querrey moves on to contest a semi-final against either Marin Cilic or Gilles Muller, while Murray will no doubt take some much-needed time out to let his body heal ahead of the demanding US hardcourts swing.