The dream double is no more but Jamie Murray is still on course for a sixth grand slam title in New York.
Murray and Bruno Soares were knocked out of the men’s doubles by Radu Albot and Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-4 yesterday in the quarter-finals but just a couple of hours later, Murray was back on court with his American partner to reach the final of the mixed doubles. He and Bethanie Mattek-Sands hung on to beat the American team of Christina McHale and Christian Harrison 6-4, 2-6, 10-8.
“Jamie kept me calm, cool and collected,” Mattek-Sands said. “I tend to get a little bit hyper and energetic. He’s the yin to my yang. He came up with some awesome volleys, so we’re pumped to get that win.”
Murray picks well when it comes to mixed doubles partners. Last summer, he received a last minute text from Martina Hingis at Wimbledon and went on to win the title there with her. They repeated the feat in New York two months later but then Hingis retired and the partnership ended.
At the start of this summer, Murray had no plans to play mixed but was then asked by Victoria Azarenka if he fancied trying their luck at the All England Club; they went on to reach the final. Now, after a hopeful text from Mattek-Sands a few days before the start of the US Open, he is back in the final again.
“I’ve been really lucky to have good partners,” Murray said. “Beth was No 1 in the world, I think, when she obviously had her big knee injury last summer. She knows what she’s doing, she’s super athletic as well around the court, a lot more athletic than a lot of the girls, which we use to our advantage. And she’s a really good moving around the net and she’s not scared of the ball at all. She always puts herself about. It’s good.
“She’s good fun, great energy about her and she’s always smiling, she’s always super positive. It’s been fun.”
The day job, the bread and butter of the men’s doubles was clearly considerably less fun and Murray’s frustration was obvious. Once Jaziri had welted the ball at Soares on match point, forcing the error from the Brazilian’s racket, Murray hurled his racket from midcourt to his chair.
He and Soares had fought, they had created chances – five break points in the second set – but they had not capitalised upon them. From being the form team of the summer, they had been overturned by a couple of singles players who only joined forces at Wimbledon two months ago and who were playing only their fifth match together.
It was Soares who proved to be the weakest link; he dropped serve twice in the first set and once, crucially, in the second. Murray, meanwhile, only faced one break point in 97 minutes and that, in the final game, was saved by a Soares volley. But it was not enough to save the match.
“We didn’t play a good match,” Murray said simply. “We started a bit edgy and we had chances in the second set, the whole way through, but we didn’t take our chances and that was it.
“They played some good stuff and we didn’t make enough first serves. We gave them a lot of looks on second serves and let them play a little bit too much but that’s it. Obviously it’s disappointing to lose. We had a great opportunity today and for the rest of the tournament. We got ourselves into the business end of the event but unfortunately we couldn’t take it further.”