Pre-U.S. Open Expectations
No. 10-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka had shown potential, but he was not considered a contender for the U.S. Open title in 2013. With a draw that had Andy Murray in his quarterfinal bracket and Novak Djokovic in his semifinal bracket, a berth in the quarterfinals seemed to be the best Wawrinka could hope for.
Considering he had never reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam event and had won only one match in his two hard-court tuneup events combined, even a quarterfinal berth seemed a lofty goal.
Wawrinka was the surprise of the tournament. Not only did he get to the semifinals of a Grand Slam event for the first time, but he also beat Murray convincingly and nearly beat No. 1-ranked Djokovic. He showed his straight-set victory over Murray in the quarterfinals was no fluke by winning two of the first three sets against Djokovic in the semifinals.
An upper-leg injury sustained midway through the match may have prevented Wawrinka from upsetting Djokovic, who survived, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The flurry of backcourt winners the 28-year-old, No. 10-ranked Wawrinka fired at Murray and Djokovic indicated he is a player to watch.
Wawrinka did not just upset Murray in the quarterfinals, he dominated the defending U.S. Open champion and reigning Wimbledon titlist. Certainly, Murray did not play his best, but no one expected Wawrinka to blow by a player who had reached the final of the last four Grand Slam events he had entered.
Wawrinka had beaten Murray, 6-1, 6-2, in their only previous 2013 meeting, but that was on clay in Monte Carlo. Wawrinka's 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory in the U.S. Open was in the quarterfinals of a major on hard courts, probably Murray's best surface. Wawrinka did not face a single break point against Murray, who owns one of the best returns of serve in the world.