Andy Murray lost his way, seven consecutive games and eventually his riveting five-set US Open quarter-final against Kei Nishikori after a loud noise from a malfunctioning sound system interrupted a key point.
Whether or not the gong-like sound, and chair umpire Marija Cicak’s let ruling, was the reason that Nishikori wound up coming back to win 1-6 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-5 on Wednesday, it surely will be what’s most remembered about the back-and-forth four-hour match.
After all, Murray’s extended discussions with Cicak and another official about the unusual episode came during a stretch in which he dropped 12 of 14 points.

He went from a lead of two sets to one, plus a break point at 1-all, to ceding the fourth set and trailing 2-0 in the fifth.
“I could have won the match for sure,” said Murray, the No.2 seed and 2012 champion at Flushing Meadows.
Murray acknowledged a brief dip in play, but preferred to focus on other reasons for allowing the sixth-seeded Nishikori to reach a grand slam semi-final for the first time since he was the US Open runner-up two years ago.
“I broke serve enough times,” Murray said. “I just didn’t hold serve enough. That was the difference.”


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But Murray complained about the ruling right away, gave away the next three points to lose the game, then brought it up again with Cicak at the ensuing changeover, saying something similar had happened earlier and play had continued.

“Exactly the same thing,” Murray exclaimed. “And I told you.”
He also spoke to a tournament supervisor about it, pleading his case and saying, “That’s not fair.”
That same type of noise came from the speakers again at 4-1 in the fourth set. It also had happened during a women’s match Monday night between Ana Konjuh and Agnieszka Radwanska.
The US Tennis Association said Wednesday that a “digital audio sound processor” was at fault and would be replaced before the night session.
Nishikori will face the winner of Wednesday night’s quarter-final between 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro and No.3 seed Stan Wawrinka.
The other men’s semi-final Friday is No.1 Novak Djokovic against No.10 Gael Monfils