BRITAIN’S Andy Murray refused to blame a long-term back injury for his struggle in overcoming Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin and reaching the US Open quarter-finals late on Tuesday night.
Defending champion Murray lost the first set to the world No65 and admitted to toiling as he came back to win 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-4, but denied it was down to his niggling back problem.
He said: “I’m just a bit stiff. It was extremely cold on the court, very windy. Often when you heat up and then sometimes in between sets or if you have quite a long break, with the wind, you cool down pretty quickly.
“It was very, very different conditions to the last few days where it’s been very humid and you have been sweating a lot. He made it very difficult for me. I was just happy to get it done, because he had chances at the end of the third set to go ahead.”
Istomin, who is coached by his mother Klaudiya, came back from 5-3 down in the tie-break to win the first set and, after conceding the second, cancelled out an early break by Murray in the third.
But eventually the Scot’s superiority told and, at 11:44pm local time, he completed victory to keep his title defence on track.