NEW YORK The earliest real signs of trouble for Andy Murray came in the 10th game of his U.S. Open quarterfinal. For 22 points stretched over 15 excruciating minutes Thursday, Murray's body language was as poor as his play.
When the 2012 champion pushed a simple forehand into the net, he smacked his palm against his forehead, once, twice, three times. When he left a similarly routine forehand too low, he mocked his footwork by pressing one shoe atop the other. When he sailed a later forehand long, he rolled his eyes and muttered. When he delivered his second double fault, he swiped the ground with his racket.
And when he rushed yet another forehand on break point No. 6 of that key game the ball drifting long to cede a set to his far-less-accomplished opponent, ninth-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka Murray cracked his racket on the court. Not satisfied, he trudged to his changeover chair and whacked the racket again, mangling the frame.
Defending a Grand Slam title for the first time, and not quite two months removed from his historic Wimbledon championship, a drained Murray bowed out quickly, if not quietly, at Flushing Meadows, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to Wawrinka 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 beat 21st-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 to reach the semifinals in New York for the seventh year in a row. It's also Djokovic's 14th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal, a 31/2-year streak.
"My level of confidence is right at the top, very close, because I have been playing most of my matches here very aggressive, very dominantly," Djokovic said. "I have been very satisfied with my performances overall in the whole tournament so far. Even though I dropped a set (Thursday night), I feel I was in control."
The other semifinal is 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 break point in Wawrinka's 14 service games.
"I didn't get into enough return games, which is disappointing for me," said Murray, who had won 30 of his preceding 32 Grand Slam matches. "That's normally something I do pretty well. I always give myself opportunities to break serve, and I didn't today."
At age 28, Wawrinka finally made it further at a major tournament than his Swiss Olympic teammate and good friend, Roger Federer, who lost in the fourth round and sent a congratulatory text to Wawrinka after his breakthrough victory.
Asked what part of his performance made him proudest, Wawrinka said: "How I was dealing with the pressure. Normally, I can be a little bit nervous, and I can lose (a) few games because of that."
He's 2-12 in tour matches against Djokovic, with 11 consecutive losses. In their most recent meeting, on hard courts at January's Australian Open, Djokovic edged Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set en route to the championship.
Altamirano advances Collin Altamirano, a 17-year-old wild card who trains at Arden Hills in Sacramento, beat Mackenzie McDonald, 18, of Piedmont 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach the boys quarterfinals. Altamirano will face top-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany today.
The Bee Sports staff contributed to this report.