(September 7, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Kei Nishikori upset No. 2 Andy Murray in five sets while 10 seed Karolina Pliskova dominated final eight newcomer Ana Konjuh to reach the semifinals of the US Open during Wednesday’s day session.
Sixth seeded Nishikori rallied to beat three-time major winner Andy Murray 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the final four of the US Open for just his second time. The man from Japan was a losing finalist in the 2014 US Open final.
Pliskova and her serve dominated her opponent 6-2, 6-2. For the Czech, it will be her first major semifinal. She’ll play the winner of the Serena Williams – Simona Halep match, which takes place on Wednesday evening.
The turning point in the Murray – Nishikori match seemed to have come when a loud gong-like sound echoed in the middle of a point during the fourth set. Murray lost seven straight games after a let was called on that point.
Murray argued with the umpire Marija Cicak’s decision to stop the point and replay it.
Murry then spoke to a tournament supervisor.
“Wayne McKewen told me that it happened four times during the match that the speakers had gone off like that,” Murray said. “I had only heard it one time before, which was on set point in the second set. That was it.”
A similar event took place on Monday night between Ana Konjuh and Agnieszka Radwanska. The point was not stopped.
The USTA said that the digital audio processor was at fault. Here is the official statement:
USTA STATEMENT REGARDING SOUND ISSUE IN ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM
One of the three digital audio sound processors in Arthur Ashe Stadium malfunctioned early in the fourth set of the Kei Nishikori – Andy Murray match. The malfunctioning unit is located at the court level. The three processors are linked, and work as a single unit. The malfunctioning unit could not be taken off-line without interrupting play. The malfunctioning unit will be replaced between the day and evening sessions. The replacement of the unit, which requires the shutting down and then re-booting of the system, can take up to thirty minutes.
The men’s match had been halted for rain in the second set and the roof was soon closed.
In the fifth set, Nishikori initially taking the break advantage until serving at 4-3, when after going up 40-0, he made several errors to give back the break. Both men held for 5-5 and Nishikori grabbed back the advantage breaking the Brit in the 11th game and holding for the victory.
Murray came into the US Open as the hottest player on the men’s tour, winning Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal, going 26-1.
“I have not let anyone down,” he said. “I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had today. I didn’t let anyone down. Certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.
“You know, if someone had offered me the summer that I have had before Wimbledon, I probably would have signed for that. You know, asking me right now is pointless. I’m not going to have the best perspective on things right this minute, but, you know, after a few days, you know, away and stuff, I would imagine I’d be very happy with how I have done and, you know, learn from this match today and the summer as a whole, because, you know, it’s been tough. It’s been a hard summer.
“And, yeah, I’m happy with how it’s gone. There’s just a few things I could do differently next time.”
“I’m not disappointed in a way,” Murray said. “Obviously I would have loved to have won, but I have had a good run every match. I would have loved to have gone further, but it wasn’t to be today.”
“Yeah, it was really difficult match.,” Nishikori said. “I didn’t quite start well and lost 6-1. I felt it was really quick and I was rushing a little bit and missing too much unforced errors.
“But after rain delay I think I improve little bit with my coach, and I tried to change a little bit my tennis and start working a little bit better. I started get my rhythm back. Yeah, many breaks today.
“Especially fifth set it was really tough. I was up 4-3, 40- love and lost the game. So there was many up and downs, but I tried to calm. I think that’s the most important thing I did today. Even though there was many up and downs I tried to stay tough.
“Yeah, last couple games I took little chance, and, yeah, win the whole thing. So it was really tight game, but happy to win today.”
Pliskova came into the US Open as the only Top 20 player never to have been past the third round of a major.
“I don’t care at what time it came,” she said. “I’m just happy that it’s now and that it came. There are people saying that I could be there earlier, but right now I feel great and I feel it’s the right time for having the results like this.
“Obviously the title from Cincinnati helped me a lot. I was waiting for the bigger title for a few years, let’s say two, so that was next step.
“I think just everything is on time. I was practicing hard this year, and even the results in the beginning of this year were not that good as the last year. I’m happy that I could, you know, play my game on the biggest tournaments, which I didn’t play last year.”
Pliskova talked about the possibility of playing Serena Williams next:
“I played her once only, actually. I was in Stanford I think two or three years ago.
“I was completely different player at that time, so I am I improve a lot and obviously she probably as well. She’s a big hitter and she can, you know, have 50 winners and you cannot do much about it.
“But I still gonna hope that there is gonna be some chance in the match where I can get my chance and be the one who is playing aggressive. Obviously I played Venus this week, which is not probably that good as she is, but it’s very similar game.
“So I’ll just have to be ready for it, I think.”
If it’s Halep: “I have played her a few times. That would be probably — I don’t want to say easier for me. They are both really good. It’s going to be probably very close match tonight.
“But she’s not hitting that big and she’s not that dangerous as Serena is, so I would have more chances probably in the match to play my game and attack her serve and to going for the shots.
“But as I saw some statistics, she won last — from 24 matches, I think she won 22 or something like this, so she’s playing very good tennis right now. Probably she feels confidence. Will be tough to play her, as well.”