NEW YORK, Sept 8: Kei Nishikori stunned Andy Murray to reach the US Open semifinals, holding his nerve in a breathtaking final set to move two wins away from becoming the first Asian man to capture a Grand Slam singles title.
Japanese star Nishikori clinched a dramatic 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 comeback triumph in a shade under four hours against the Wimbledon and Olympics winner and 2012 US Open champion.
�It was so exciting on the court but I tried to stay calm. It was really tough,� said Nishikori after reaching only his second Slam semifinal after his runner-up spot in New York in 2014.
�He�s a great returner, there were lots of up and downs. I didn�t start well.�
In a match which featured 17 breaks of serve, Nishikori prevailed for only his second win in nine matches against the world number two.
His win came just three weeks after losing to Murray in the Olympic semifinals.
Murray looked to be in control at two sets to one ahead and carving out a break point in the third game of the fourth when a loud gong-like sound burst from the malfunctioning public address system in Arthur Ashe stadium.
It thudded around the stadium and echoed eerily beneath the roof which had been closed due to rain midway through the second set.
Umpire Marija Cicak ordered the point to be replayed much to the irritation of the Briton who lost his composure and the next five games as an acrobatic Nishikori levelled the tie.
Murray refused to blame his defeat on the incident.
�Definitely I would say to 4-1 I didn�t play a good game after I got out of the change of ends, and then he held pretty comfortably the next game,� said Murray.
�But after that, I don�t think so. There was a lot of time.�
On the other hand, Stan Wawrinka outlasted a fading Juan Martin del Potro in four sets to secure his place in the US Open semifinals.
The double Grand Slam winner ended a rousing fightback by the Argentine to finally progress 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the early hours of Thursday at New York�s Flushing Meadows.
Del Potro, the 2009 winner, had missed nine successive slams due to a string of wrist surgeries before returning to Wimbledon, where he conquered Wawrinka in the second round and went on to claim silver at the Rio Olympics.
Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open winner and 2015 French Open champion, will next meet sixth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan.
�It�s going to be interesting for sure,� said Wawrinka after the match, looking forward to playing Nishikori. � Agencies