Flushing Meadows, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Top-seeded Novak Djokovic earned a hard-fought victory over eighth-seeded Andy Murray to secure a spot in the semifinal of the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who now leads Murray 13-8 all-time in their matches at the ATP tour level, defeated the Brit, 7-6 (7-1), 6-7 (1-7), 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday in just over 3 1/2 hours.
Murray broke Djokovic in the opening game of the first set to grab the early 1-0 lead. Djokovic answered by breaking Murray’s next two service games to regain control, 3-1. Murray withstood the rally from Djokovic, however, knotting the match at 4-4 later in the set until the Serb handily won the tiebreak.
The second set was much tighter as the two maintained serve until Murray, just like his opponent in the first set, cruised in the tiebreak to even the match at a set apiece.
Djokovic broke Murray early in the third set which led to an easy win, then the Serbian broke Murray again on the final game of the fourth to reach the semifinal round.
Djokovic will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who grinded out another marathon win to become the first Japanese man in the Open Era to reach the semifinals at a grand slam event.
Nishikori outlasted No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka in five sets Wednesday, beating the reigning Australian Open champion 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9-7), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 in 4 hours and 14 minutes.
Nishikori, seeded No. 10, needed 4 hours and 19 minutes to beat Canada’s Milos Raonic in the fourth round in a match that ended at 2:26 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The other two quarterfinal matches will be held Thursday when No. 2 seed Roger Federer, the five-time U.S. Open champ, takes on 20th-seeded Gael Monfils and sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych meets 14th-seeded Marin Cilic.
Five of Federer’s men’s-record 17 Grand Slam titles have come in New York, where he reached six straight finals from 2004-09.