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Andy Murray's hopes of become only the fourth man since the Open era began to reach all four major finals in the same year were ended on Wednesday when he was beaten in the quarter-finals by Japan's Kei Nishikori.
Murray was within one set of reaching the last four at Flushing Meadows but Nishikori capitalised on his drop in focus to fight back and claim a 1-6 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-5 in just under four hours.
It had taken just 35 minutes for Murray to claim the opening set but he lost his rhythm when they were forced to stop to allow the roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium to be closed due to a passing rain shower with the second set tied at 3-3.
The break worked in Nishikori's favour and he broke Murray to level the match only for the Wimbledon champion to regain his composure to take the third set.
However, the turning point in the match arrived early in the fourth set when the stadium sound system emitted a loud noise that caused the umpire to halt the point. At the time Murray looked to be in control of a rally on break point but he lost his momentum and Nishikori took advantage by taking the game on his way to clinching the fourth set.
Nishikori twice broke in the fifth set but both times Murray fought back to lead 5-4. The Japanese player held serve before breaking Murray once again and this time there was no way back for Murray as Nishikori held book his place in the last four.
A frustrated Murray admitted he was unhappy that the referee had halted play in the middle of a point due to a noise.
"They stopped the point and I was just curious why that was and that was it," Murray said.
"(Referee) Wayne McKewen told me that it happened four times during the match that the speakers had gone off like that. I had only heard it one time before, which was on set point in the second set. That was it.
"Did it affect me? Definitely I would say to 4-1. I didn't play a good game after I got out of the change of ends and then he held pretty comfortably the next game.
"But after that I don't think so. There was a lot of time after then. I lost my serve a couple of times from positions that when I was up in the game. That was the difference."
He added: "I felt alright today. Kei has played a lot of tennis as well over the last few months for sure.
"But this slam in particular I think for all of the players, especially the ones, that have done well over the summer period on the hard courts, it's a tough one.
"Kei will be feeling it, as well as a lot of the players. I don't think that had an impact on the match today."
Juan Martin del Potro is also out of the tournament following a 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 loss to Stan Wawrinka.
Del Potro started brightly against Wawrinka to lead 4-1 in the opening set but the Swiss broke in the seventh game and in the subsequent tie-break he proved too strong, taking it 7-5.
The only break of serve in the second set fell to Del Potro but it was Wawrinka who looked the fresher of the two heading into the third and he used that to his advantage to finish off his opponent and set up a semi-final meeting with Nishikori.
"It was one of my toughest matches mentally and physically. Juan Martin's an incredible player," said Wawrinka.
"I tried to make longer rallies. I tried to go back a little bit to make him play more balls, keep him on the backhand side and tried to dictate."
Meanwhile, Serena Williams remains on course to win a 23rd Grand Slam title after defeating fifth seed Simona Halep in the women's semi-final.
The world number one had to battle hard to reach the last four but in the end she proved too strong for Halap, winning 6-2 4-6 6-3.
"I knew I could play a lot better and I felt like I lost my rhythm in the second set," she said.
"And Simona started playing well and going for her shots. I knew if I wanted to win this I had to step it up in the third set."
Next up for Williams is a semi-final meeting against Karolina Pliskova, who dropped just four games as she beat Croatia's Ana Konjuh 6-2 6-2.
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