Defending champion Andy Murray was stunned Thursday afternoon by No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarterfinals of the 2013 U.S. Open, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Wawrinka, 28, qualified for his first career Grand Slam quarterfinals, where he will take on the winner of the Novak Djokovic and Mikhail Youzhny match. He and Murray were even in the first set until the 10th game, with Murray on serve, down 5-4. Murray saved six break points in a game that lasted nearly 20 minutes, but Wawrinka broke through on the seventh.
Murray destroyed his racket in frustration, the first time he has done that in a match all year. He had been one of the most consistent players on tour the past few years, missing out on the semifinals in a Grand Slam for just the second time since 2010 (third if you count this year's French Open, in which he didn't participate).
After the marathon game, Murray shrank. His body language was dejected at best, his errors mounted and he produced fewer winners than he had all tournament. Wawrinka, on the other hand, played aggressive tennis, but not careless. Murray never even got a break point opportunity in the entire match.
There will be questions after the match if Murray was hurt because he simply wasn't moving as well as he normally does, and he has a history of back trouble. Either way, Wawrinka -- who beat No. 5 Tomas Berdych in the fourth round in another outstanding effort -- is playing the best tennis of his life and could give Djokovic a run for his money if it continues.