Murray whimpers out of US Open

Andy Murray loses his ragLast night, in his third round match at the US Open, British no. 1 Andy Murray was crushed by South Korean Hyung-Taik Lee.  Lee defeated Murray in a match that lasted nearly 3 hours, winning 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Murray lost the first 2 sets to Lee, but managed to regain his composure in the third set to win 6-2, breaking Lee twice in the process.

Murray broke Lee immediately in the fourth set, but things went a bit pear shaped as Murray’s first serve deserted him, and he found himself 5-2 down and facing a match point on his own serve.  Things weren’t looking good for the Scot at this point.  However he managed to save said match point and went on to hold the game.  Hyung-Taik Lee then served for the match.  Murray seemed to pick up his game here, and the pressure appeared to be getting to Lee.  After two and a half hours of play Lee gained a match point on his own serve and it looked like the match was over.  But an inspired Murray saved this second match point and then went on to break the South Korean.

It seemed that the comeback was on, as Murray looked to be in control of his next service game to level the fourth set at 5-5.  By this point Andy had 31 year old Lee on the ropes and should have been favourite to win the match.  Despite this, in Lee’s next service game, poor shot choices by Murray gifted the game to Lee.  Following this, in the final game, Murray threw away his service to love.  Game, set and match to Lee.

Throughout the match, Murray really struggled with his serve.  At this point in his career, his first and second serves seem to be a rather big chink in his armour.  The full match statistics show Murrays first serve percentage as 52%.  This is very misleading as in the third set he threw in a lot of slow first serves in order to raise his percentage.  In the fourth set this statistic was as low as 30%, which isn’t an acceptable number for a top 20 player.  Murray only managed to win 45 points from his 74 first serves, 15 of which were aces.  Removing aces, this takes his points won on first serve down to 51%, which is absolutely abysmal and is in fact equivalent to points won on second serve.

As I watched the match, I felt like I was being torn in half by the young Scot.  On one hand I was impressed by his occasional determination and brilliance.  But on the other hand, it was infuriating and frustrating to watch this talented player continually gift points to Lee.

On a positive note there didn’t seem to be any sign of his recent injury.  Instead, his behaviour throughout the match indicated that the problems were psychological; he had an ongoing altercation with the umpire during the first set, and he relentlessly muttered away to himself through the entire match.  Perhaps he just needs a few more sessions with Robert Forzoni, the LTA’s sports psychology manager.  In spite of this loss, Murray seems to be viewing his whole Flushing Meadows experience in a positive manner.  In a statement after the match, Murray said:

“Physically I was in good shape and that’s one of the positives I want to take from that because maybe more like a couple of years ago when I played a five-set match I played a few days later and was still tired. Today I was feeling much better… It maybe took me five or six games to get going. After that I was okay but maybe I gave myself a little bit too much work to do in the end. If I had got one of those chances in the first set and maybe got myself a set ahead, I might have loosened up and started to play better.”

Although Andy’s exit from the US Open is disappointing, we must remember that only a few weeks ago he was playing horribly, was hesitant about using his forehand as he didn’t know whether it was safe for his wrist, and was knocked out of both the Montreal and Cincinnati Masters tournaments.  At least he can now be sure that his wrist is healed, and can move forward from here.  Speaking about the match, Murray said:

“I would have rather done better obviously but it’s been a long time since I felt like I could sort of the play at this level… My game is still nowhere near where I would like and I was making a lot of mistakes that I don’t normally make. However it’s not a bad result considering the circumstances.”

Match Stats:

  Murray(GBR) Lee(KOR)
1st Serve % 74 of 141 = 52 % 75 of 117 = 64 %
Aces 15 5
Double Faults 8 3
Unforced Errors 54 32
Winning % on 1st Serve 45 of 74 = 61 % 55 of 75 = 73 %
Winning % on 2nd Serve 35 of 67 = 52 % 20 of 42 = 48 %
Winners (Including Service) 44 35
Receiving Points Won 42 of 117 = 36 % 61 of 141 = 43 %
Break Point Conversions 4 of 7 = 57 % 6 of 16 = 38 %
Net Approaches 18 of 37 = 49 % 30 of 40 = 75 %
Total Points Won 122 136
Fastest Serve 133 MPH 122 MPH
Average 1st Serve Speed 115 MPH 112 MPH
Average 2nd Serve Speed 85 MPH 91 MPH