U.S. Open Slice, Day 9: Depleted Murray chased out

First serve

Now Andy Murray knows what it feels like to become a victim of his own success.

The world No. 2 was dumped out of the U.S. Open in lethargic fashion Tuesday afternoon, producing perhaps his worst performance of the year in a straight-sets defeat to Marin Cilic.

While it would be easy to criticize Murray's attitude or mindset after such a listless display, the real answer is fairly simple.

Murray just looked spent, unable to conjure any energy or emotion as the plight he faced against Cilic became ever more grave.

It has been a huge year for the Scot, one in which he has established himself among the best in the game and repeatedly progressed deep into tournaments around the globe.

But his struggles in the latter rounds of Grand Slam tournaments could spark a rethink of the way he plans his tournament schedule.

Because Murray just didn't have anything left in the tank against Cilic, surely a byproduct of such a grueling year.

Rafael Nadal has experienced similar difficulties in the past at the U.S. Open, often paying a physical price in New York for his extreme exertions throughout the year.

The U.S. Open will always be Murray's best chance to win a major, the conditions and environment suiting his game better than anywhere else.

A more carefully composed preparatory program will be necessary though, if he is ever to fulfill his Flushing Meadows potential.

Drop shot

China's Li Na is a fine player who has beaten some of the world's biggest stars, but she conspired against herself Tuesday and produced a woeful performance against Kim Clijsters. Li froze and panicked under the glare of Arthur Ashe Stadium and handed the match to Clijsters on a plate.

Clean winner

It is all just too easy for Serena Williams, who looks destined for yet another U.S. Open title. Even when faced with Flavia Pennetta, one of the most in-form players in the women's game, Williams never looked troubled and romped to a routine victory in straight sets.

Upset alert

The Melanie Oudin juggernaut cranks into action again Wednesday, with American tennis' new sweetheart taking on Caroline Wozniacki in the first match of the night session.

Wozniacki is ranked ninth in the world and is in fine form, but Oudin is flushed with confidence and will have a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd firmly behind her.

Match of the day

The best entertainment in a day packed with one-sided matches was the slugfest between Fernando Gonzalez and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, two huge hitters with personalities to match. Gonzalez had too much firepower and eventually knocked off the Frenchman in four tight sets.

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