Photo: Paul ZimmerStanislas Wawrinka (SUI) - 2013 US Open
Stanislas Wawrinka broke new ground at the US Open on Thursday after ousting defending champion Andy Murray in straight sets to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal.
Wawrinka, who reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time this June, rubber stamped 2013 as his career-best year at the majors to date after recording an emphatic 64 63 62 win over two-time Grand Slam champion Murray in the afternoon session on Thursday.
“I feel great, that's for sure,” said Wawrinka. “It's amazing for me to be in the first semifinal in a Grand Slam, especially after beating Andy Murray, defending champion. He just won Wimbledon, too. He's a great champion.
“To beat him in three sets the way I was playing today is quite good for me.”
The world No. 3, meanwhile, admitted that Wawrinka was the better player on the day.
“He hit big shots,” said Murray. “He passed extremely well. He hit a lot of lines on big points. He served well. That was it. He played a great match.”
Wawrinka had already achieved a landmark step in his career simply by reaching the quarterfinals.
With Roger Federer falling to Tommy Robredo in the round of 16 and Wawrinka upsetting No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych, Wawrinka became the first Swiss player to progress further than Federer at a Grand Slam since 2002 Wimbledon, when Marc Rosset, George Bastl, and Michel Kratochvil all made it further than Federer, who lost in the 1st round to Mario Ancic.
Wawrinka faces Novak Djokovic, who he took to five sets at the Australian Open this year, in the last four after the world No. 1 shrugged off the loss of the first set to defeat Mikhail Youzhny 63 62 36 60.
“It was never going to be an easy match against Mikhail. Quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, and I was aware of his qualities and ability to come back to the match,” said Djokovic. “It was important to get the early break in the fourth. I really felt a big relief on the court and just went for my shots and played well.”
Also on Thursday, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek ended Bob and Mike Bryan’s hopes of completing the calendar Grand Slam in New York after winning their semifinal 36 63 64.
The American twins, who currently hold all four majors, were on the cusp of becoming just the second men’s doubles team to win a calendar Grand Slam, and the first doubles players since Martina Hingis won all four women's doubles majors in 1998.
“We're very disappointed,” admitted Bob Bryan. “As competitors we hate to lose, and we knew what was riding on this match and the opportunity of what we could have accomplished.
“It's been in the back of our mind the whole way,” added Mike Bryan. “I think once we got out there, you know, you try to put it aside. But you win a set and then you think, ‘okay, you're three sets away from a Grand Slam.
“Every point just becomes a little bit bigger. You know, it makes it a little tougher.”
Paes and Stepanek will play Alexander Peya and Brunos Soares in the final after the second seeds defeated Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 75 64. Meanwhile, Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua reached their third Grand Slam doubles final together this year after defeating Sania Mirza and Jie Zheng 62 62.
They will play either No. 5 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka or Serena and Venus Williams, who kept their momentum going in the women’s doubles, dispatching top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 63 61 to reach the last four.