Murray Snaps Del Potro's Streak To Reach SFs
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World No. 6 Andy Murray (pictured) advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal, snapping Argentine teenager Juan Martin del Potro's 23-match winning streak as he prevailed 7-6(2), 7-6(1), 4-6, 7-5 in just under four hours, Wednesday at the US Open.
The first set seesawed between the two youngsters. World No. 6 Murray took the 2-0 lead as del Potro netted his backhand, but he double-faulted to hand the break back in the seventh game and again to give del Potro the 5-4 edge. Murray promptly recovered the service break, and then won five straight points in the tie-break to secure the set lead.
With Murray up two sets and double break point at 4-3 in the third set, del Potro reeled off four straight points to deny the Scotsman a chance to serve out the match. The teenager followed by winning eight of the next nine points to close out the third set.
Murray was twice forced to play catch-up in the fourth set after dropping serve in the first game and at 3-all, and clinched the victory on his third break of the set as del Potro returned a backhand wide on match point.
"I played the big points great. In the first two sets I played really well in the tiebreaks. And then when I broke a string on my racquet I started to serve a few double faults and lost the rhythm on my serve a little bit," said Murray. "But I was really happy with the way I managed to come back. It was a long match, and it would have been easy to get down on myself, but I didn't do that."
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Murray, the winner of the 2004 US Open boys' singles title (d. Stakhovsky), is the fifth different British player to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in the Open Era, joining Roger Taylor, John Lloyd, Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman. He reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal this year at Wimbledon, where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
The 21-year-old will move up to a career high No. 4 ranking after the US Open, matching the highest-ever ranking by a British man. He has a 40-13 season record with three hard court titles at Doha, Marseille and ATP Masters Series Cincinnati.
Murray will face the winner between World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and American Mardy Fish, who play Wednesday night.
Del Potro, who celebrates his 20th birthday in a couple weeks, was the youngest player to appear in the US Open quarterfinals since Andy Roddick in 2001, and the 13th different teenager to do so.
The Argentine is the first player to win his first four ATP titles in as many tournaments, titling on clay at Stuttgart and Kitzbuhel and on hard courts at Los Angeles and Washington. Del Potro, ranked No. 65 before he began his title run in July, is projected to break into the Top 15 when the new rankings are published after the US Open.
"I improve a lot. That's the point for my success," said del Potro. "But today I play against one of the best player of the world... He beat [Novak] Djokovic in Cincinnati. He beat everyone. I did my best. He won a good match, and he's in semifinals."