New York: Andy Murray shrugged off a poor first-set tiebreaker to beat Denis Istomin 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday to advance to the quarter-finals of the US Open for the third-straight year.
The defending champion came apart after leading 5-3 in the opening-set tiebreaker. First, Istomin hit a forehand winner to close a 27-shot exchange. Then Murray, distracted before his service toss by a shout from the stands, double-faulted. A forehand into the net gave Istomin a set point and the Uzbek took the set when Murray pushed a backhand wide.
Istomin was broken right away in the second set and, aside from winning a point with a no-look between-the-legs shot in the last game, there were few highlights as the match was squared at one-set all.
There was more shakiness from Murray in the third set, in which he went up a break, only to lose serve to make it 3-3. But he broke right back for a 4-3 edge, and was back on his way to a victory that improved his record over his past five Grand Slam tournaments to 30-2.
His opponent in the last eight will be Stanislas Wawrinka, who reached his second US Open quarter-final by eliminating Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (6), 6-2.
Murray leads the head-to-head series against Wawrinka 8-5, but they've split their two previous meetings on the US Open's hard courts: Murray won in 2008, and Wawrinka won two years later. Wawrinka also won their only match this season, 6-1, 6-2 on red clay at Monte Carlo in April.
"He's very tough. Very talented," Murray said. "We played once on this court when we were much younger. But a lot has changed since then."