No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic advanced to his eighth straight semifinal at the U.S. Open on Thursday morning, outlasting No. 8 seed Andy Murray 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 in four wild sets.
The first two sets were particularly grueling for both men, and momentum shifted frequently and seemingly without much warning.
Djokovic had his serve broken in the opening game of the match, but he rallied to win the next four games for what seemed a commanding edge.
Murray, seizing the momentum, battled back, forcing a first-set tiebreak but falling without so much as a whimper by a tally of 7-1.
The second set played out much the same way.
Djokovic broke Murray early only to see his opponent battle back and force another tiebreak. But this time the Brit sealed the deal, evening the match at a set apiece with an identical 7-1 score.
As the match wore on, Murray’s back became an issue.
His movement was compromised, allowing the power-hitting Djokovic to take over the match with his forehands.
The third and fourth sets weren’t nearly as competitive or dramatic as the first two, and—appropriately in a match full of them—Djokovic sealed the match with a break on Murray’s final service game.
With the win, Djokovic advances to the semifinals where he’ll face No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori on Saturday.