Defending champion Andy Murray rallied from a set down to complete the men’s quarterfinal lineup at the U.S. Open, where top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams lost a combined three games in dominant wins.
Murray, the No. 3 seed from Scotland, lost the first set in a tiebreak to Denis Istomin before recovering for a 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory last night at the National Tennis Center in New York. Istomin, of Uzbekistan, was the last unseeded player left in the men’s draw at the season’s final Grand Slam tournament.
“I just started trying to dictate the points a little more, especially when I had the wind with me,” Murray, 26, said during a televised on-court interview in breezy Arthur Ashe Stadium. “I had a few chances to win the first set, so I just had to make some minor adjustments.”
Djokovic lost eight points on his serve as he rolled into the final eight with a 6-3, 6-0, 6-0 victory against Spain’s Marcel Granollers yesterday. Williams, the only American player left in the tournament, followed with a 6-0, 6-0 rout of No. 18 Carla Suarez Navarro on the Spaniard’s 25th birthday.
It was the second time a player has won 6-0, 6-0 in the U.S. Open quarterfinals since 1968, the other being 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova’s win over Manuela Maleeva in 1989. Asked afterward if she feels compassion when dominating an opponent, Williams said she’s only focused on winning.
“You don’t really think about it,” Williams, 31, said at a news conference. “You just think about winning the points and winning the games.”
Williams, who has lost only 13 games through her first five matches, next meets fifth-seeded Li Na of China for a spot in the women’s final. Williams is 8-1 all-time against Li, who was a 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 winner over 24th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia yesterday.
“I’m having a blast this week,” said Williams, a 17-time Grand Slam winner who is 65-4 with eight tournament titles this year. “I have just really been enjoying my matches. I have to stay in that moment of fun, but intensity.”
Djokovic set up a match against No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, who outlasted former U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt in a five-set win that took almost four hours.
“It probably takes its toll, the fact they have played five-setters and are coming in tired,” Djokovic, 26, said after beating Granollers, who was coming off a five-set win over Tim Smyczek. “But I really don’t try to pay attention to my opponents during the matches. I have this very determined vision of what I need to do on the court.”
Murray’s next opponent is ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who moved into the final eight by rallying from a set down to beat No. 5 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in four sets. Wawrinka advanced a day after countryman and five-time champion Roger Federer was knocked out in the fourth round, his earliest U.S. Open exit since 2003.
“This year he’s improved quite a bit and he’s more experienced now,” Murray said of the 28-year-old Wawrinka, who has yet to advance past the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam. “It’ll be a very tough match.”
Rafael Nadal, the men’s No. 2 seed, highlights today’s quarterfinal lineup as he faces No. 19 Tommy Robredo, a fellow Spaniard who ousted Federer in straight sets.
Nadal has won all six previous meetings against Robredo, is riding a 19-match hard-court win streak, and has yet to lose a game on his serve through the first four rounds at the U.S. Open. Robredo is 0-6 in Grand Slam quarterfinals.
Fourth-seeded David Ferrer, also of Spain, faces No. 8 Richard Gasquet of France in today’s other men’s quarterfinal. Ferrer, a semifinalist at the U.S. Open in 2012, has an 8-1 career record against Gasquet, including a straight-set, fourth-round win in New York a year ago.
The final two spots in the women’s semifinals will be filled today. Tenth-seeded Roberta Vinci meets Flavia Pennetta in an all-Italian quarterfinal in today’s first match in Arthur Ashe Stadium, while second-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus faces Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia tonight.
Azarenka played yesterday’s first match, overcoming nine double faults and windy conditions to defeat former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.