Andy Murray watched a 130 mph ace zoom by to create a two-set deficit at the U.S. Open, and then sat in his changeover chair and cursed at himself, over and over and over.
A little later, Murray cracked his racket against the court once, breaking the frame, and went to the sideline and mangled his equipment even more, before meandering over to hand it to someone in the stands.
Often able to spur himself by letting out some anger, the two-time Grand Slam title winner only briefly managed to get into this match. The third-seeded Murray lost before the quarterfinals at a major for the first time since 2010, beaten 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (0) by 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows on Monday.
For the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson, known mainly for a booming serve but terrific off the ground in this 4-hour, 18-minute victory, it marked a real breakthrough: He entered with an 0-7 record in fourth-round matches at majors, including when he had a two-set lead against Novak Djokovic before losing at Wimbledon two months ago.
This time, Anderson held it together, with the help of 25 aces and 81 total winners.
Murray, meanwhile, heads home much earlier than he's used to.
He had reached at least the quarters at his previous 18 Grand Slam tournaments, a streak that included championships at the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013, along with four runner-up finishes.
Adept at comebacks — in the second round, he recorded his eighth victory in a match after dropping the opening two sets — Murray did push Anderson to a fourth set, but that was the extent of the rally this time.
In Anderson's first major quarterfinal, he will face yet another two-time major champion, Stan Wawrinka, who eliminated 68th-ranked American Donald Young 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.