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Murray struggled to live with Cilic's powerful serve and big groundstrokes
By Chris Bevan
British number one Andy Murray paid the price for an error-strewn display as he went out of the US Open with a fourth-round defeat by Marin Cilic.
Murray, seeded second, had two set points for the first set but it was his Croatian opponent who snatched it.
The second set was a disaster for the Scot, who made a series of mistakes to allow the 16th seed to extend his lead.
Cilic, who held serve throughout, kept attacking in the third set and went on to seal an impressive 7-5 6-2 6-2 win.
The 20-year-old will play Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-finals but, for Murray, his dream of a first Grand Slam title is over for another year.
Murray 'very disappointed' with defeat
He played with a bandage on his wrist but it did not appear to hinder him during the match and he refused to blame the injury afterwards.
"Regardless of my wrist, I lost the match," said Murray. "I returned poorly. He served well and that was really the difference."
Murray had his chances against the big-serving Cilic but the match swung away from him as soon as he failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in the first set.
An ace by Cilic saved the first, and on the second Murray netted a weak backhand. Cilic went on to hold and won the next six games for good measure as Murray's game collapsed.
"That was the turning point," Cilic said afterwards. "It was a relief for me to get into the match at 4-5 and not be so into myself.
I couldn't get myself into games and he was dominating points so there wasn't much I could do about it
"Then he gave me a little bit of a chance at 5-5, played a sloppy game, and gave me a chance to serve it out.
"After that I played really good, very consistent, didn't let anything bother me."
That run of games put Cilic a set and 4-0 up and, although Murray did not fold in the second set, he never looked like pulling back the deficit.
By now, Cilic was flying, with his forehand in particular helping him dominate from the back of the court.
It seemed Murray, last year's beaten finalist at Flushing Meadows, had run out of ideas, especially at the start of the third set when he was broken again.
There was no way back from there, with Cilic remaining dominant on serve and continuing to take the initiative at every opportunity.
"I just couldn't get myself into enough return games to get myself back into the match," a disappointed Murray said.
"A lot of times when I lose I get asked 'why did you look flat?' but it is not always the case - today I couldn't get myself into games and he was dominating points so there wasn't much I could do about it."
Cilic hit 35 winners compared to just 13 by Murray, who failed to convert any of seven break points.
The victory - which came in two hours and eight minutes - takes Cilic into a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time.
"I played very well and he was missing a lot," Cilic added. "I don't think he was playing his best."
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