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Anderson stuns Murray, Federer in quarters

Anderson stuns Murray, Federer in quarters

NEW YORK: Persistence finally paid off for Kevin Anderson as the towering South African prevailed in a slugfest with Andy Murray to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open on Monday while another tennis giant John Isner was slain by Roger Federer.

Two David v Goliath matchups, however, ended all too predictably as 97th-ranked British qualifier Johanna Konta saw her Flushing Meadows joy ride ended 7-5, 6-3 by fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova and 68th-ranked American Donald Young ran out of comeback magic in a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 6-4 loss to fifth seed Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Tomas Berdych’s time in Flushing Meadows also came to an end with the sixth seeded Czech falling 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to 12th seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Murray watched a 130 mph ace zoom by to create a two-set deficit, and then sat in his changeover chair and cursed at himself, over and over and over.

A little later, Murray cracked his racket against the court once, breaking the frame, and went to the sideline and mangled his equipment even more, before meandering over to hand it to someone in the stands.

Often able to spur himself by letting out some anger, the two-time Grand Slam title winner only briefly managed to get into this match.

The third-seeded Murray lost before the quarter-finals at a major for the first time since 2010, beaten 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-0) by the 15th-seeded Anderson.

“Disappointing to lose because of that,” Murray said about his earlier-than-usual exit. “Obviously that’s many years’ work that’s gone into building that sort of consistency.”

For the six-foot, eight-inch (2.03m) Anderson, known mainly for a booming serve but terrific off the ground in this 4-hour, 18-minute victory, it marked a real breakthrough: He entered with an 0-7 record in fourth-round matches at majors, including when he had a two-set lead against Novak Djokovic before losing at Wimbledon two months ago.

This time, Anderson held it together, with the help of 25 aces and 81 total winners.

“It was the match of my life,” said Anderson, who will face two-time major champion Wawrinka in the quarter-finals. “This is a great accomplishment for me.”

Second seed Federer also came face-to-face with one of the ATP Tour’s biggest hitters and coolly defused six-foot, 10-inch (2.08m) Isner’s booming serve to claim a 7-6 (7-0), 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 victory and reach a quarter-final against Gasquet.

“Of course Roger will be the favourite of the match but I will have nothing to lose,” said Gasquet, who is 2-14 lifetime against the Swiss star.

Women’s second seed Simona Halep overcame a thigh injury, baking heat and finally big-hitting German Sabine Lisicki 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-2.

It was Labor Day in the United States but it was certainly no holiday for Halep who had to work for her spot in the last eight, needing two hours and 38 minutes under a broiling sun to dispatch Lisicki and reach the US Open quarter-finals for the first time.

“It’s unbelievable to reach my first quarter-final at the US Open. It was a crazy match,” said Halep after her fourth successive win over the 2013 Wimbledon runner-up.

Waiting for the Romanian in the last eight is two-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka, who advanced with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over American Varvara Lepchenko.

Konta had hoped to become the first British woman in the last-eight since Jo Durie in 1983 but she failed to take advantage of any of her five break points against double Wimbledon champion Kvitova.

Kvitova is the first Czech in the quarter-finals since Daja Bedanova in 2001 and will next face Italian 26th seed Pennetta, who reached her sixth quarter-final in seven years with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Australia’s Samantha Stosur, the 2011 champion.

“It was my best match of the year,” said Pennetta after Stosur, the last woman to beat Serena Williams in New York, committed 35 unforced errors.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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