In brief: Wawrinka sends Murray to early exit at U.S. Open
Tennis: Trying to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time, and not quite two months removed from his historic Wimbledon championship, Andy Murray bowed out quickly, if not quietly, on Thursday at Flushing Meadows in New York, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, in a result that was surprising both because of who won and by how much.
“I have had a good run the last couple of years,” said the third-seeded Murray, who shook his hands in front of his face and screamed after dropping the second set. “It’s a shame I had to play a bad match today.”
The first Grand Slam semifinal of Wawrinka’s career, in his 35th appearance, will come Saturday against No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2011 U.S. Open champion. Djokovic overcame a third-set lull and beat 21st-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 on Thursday night to reach the semifinals in New York for the seventh year in a row. It’s also the 14th consecutive Grand Slam tournament where Djokovic is in the semifinals, a 3 1/2-year streak.
The other semifinal has No. 2 Rafael Nadal against No. 8 Richard Gasquet.
Murray’s rough afternoon included only 15 winners, 30 fewer than Wawrinka. Murray tapped in second serves as slow as 75 mph, allowing Wawrinka to hit four return winners and easily take control of countless other points. Murray, one of the sport’s top returners, never earned a single break point during any of Wawrinka’s 14 service games.
Wrarinka is 2-12 in tour matches against Djokovic, including 11 consecutive losses.
• Bryan Brothers’ quest comes to end: The Bryan brothers’ quest for the calendar Grand Slam has come to an end.
Bob and Mike Bryan lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending a 28-match winning streak in the Grand Slams and stopping their run two wins short of the Slam.
The Aussie team of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman remains the only men’s doubles pairing to win all four majors in a single year, back in 1951.
Stepanek and Paes will face the second-seeded team of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the final.
In women’s doubles, Venus and Serena Williams rolled through the top-seeded defending champions, Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani, to take their spot in the semifinals.
Dragic leads Slovenia to upset over Spain
Basketball: Goran Dragic scored 18 points to lead host Slovenia (2-0) to a 78-69 upset victory over defending champion Spain (1-1) in the European basketball championship.
Dragic, a guard for the Phoenix Suns, also had six rebounds, seven assists and two steals while scoring the last four points of the Group C game in Celje, Slovenia.
Marc Gasol had 17 points for Spain, which is trying to become the first team to win three consecutive European titles since Yugoslavia in the 1970s.
In another Group C game, Poland fell to 0-2 with a 69-68 loss to the Czech Republic (1-1) with Gonzaga sophomore Przemek Karnowski looking on from the bench.
In Group A play in Ljubljana, Slovenia, France (1-1) got 17 points from Nicolas Batum and 16 from Tony Parker in an 88-65 rout over Britain (1-1).
Belgium (1-1) also held on to a 77-73 overtime win over Germany (1-1).
Serbia and Latvia each won their second games to stay perfect in Group B play in Jesenice, Slovania. Serbia bettered winless Bosnia-Herzogeovina 77-67, while Latvia slipped by Montenegro (1-1) 73-72 on a jumber by Kristaps Janicenoks with six seconds left.
In Group D, Greece beat Russia 80-71 to stay perfect after two games in Koper, Slovakia. Russia (0-2) was a bronze medalist two years ago.
Another European power in trouble is Turkey, which also lost its second straight, 90-75 at the hands of Italy. Italy remained perfect after two games. Turkey, silver medalist at the 2010 world championships at home, is in danger of failing to qualify for the second round.
Gilbert takes Spanish Vuelta’s 12th stage
Cycling: World champion Philippe Gilbert won the 12th stage of the Spanish Vuelta, and Vincenzo Nibali retained the leader’s jersey.
Gilbert, a Belgian riding for BMC, caught Edvald Boasson and moved past him in the final yards to cross first in the 102-mile stage from Maella, Spain, to Tarragona on the Mediterranean coast.
Nibali provisionally maintained a 31-second lead over Nicolas Roche.
The 13th stage today remains in the northeastern region of Catalonia for a second straight flat stage, a 105-mile route from Valls to Castelldefels.
The three-week race then heads back into the mountains for three stages in the Pyrenees.