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Wawrinka steps out of Federer shadow into semi-finals

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates winning match point against Andy Murray of Britain at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New
Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates winning match point against Andy Murray of Britain at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New

By Will Swanton

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka stepped out of compatriot Roger Federer's shadow and into the U.S. Open semi-finals with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 upset of defending champion Andy Murray on Thursday.

Wawrinka even received a congratulatory text message upon reaching his first grand slam semi-final from five-time U.S. Open champion Federer, who left the stage to Wawrinka after an early dismissal from Flushing Meadows.

After Federer's shock loss to Spain's Tommy Robredo in the fourth round, Wawrinka continued his breakout year with a display of supreme ball-striking to dominate Murray in two hours and 15 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Wawrinka started the year with a bang, pushing world number one Novak Djokovic to 12-10 in the fifth set at the Australian Open. He has since pushed his world ranking to number 10.

Another jump is guaranteed after he lasted longer than Federer at a grand slam for the first time in his career.

"It's my moment and I'm enjoying it a lot," said Wawrinka, who added that he never resented Federer's tremendous success.

"I'm really thankful for him because he has helped me a lot. But today, for sure it's my moment. Roger texted me straight after the match. He told me congrats."

Wawrinka beat Murray without facing a break point on serve.

He said the most pleasing aspect was controlling the nerves that have gotten the better of him in the past.

"I was dealing with the pressure," the 28-year-old said.

"Normally I can be a little bit nervous and I can lose a few games because of that, but today I was just focused on my game.

"It's amazing for me to be in my first semi-final of a grand slam, especially after beating Andy Murray, the defending champion. He won Wimbledon, too. To beat him in three sets, the way I was playing today, is quite good for me."

Wawrinka, who has developed one of the most stylish single-handed backhands in tennis, hit 45 winners to Murray's 15 to leave the Scotsman scrambling in defense.

"I'm quite happy with my backhand," said Wawrinka, who abandoned the two-hand backhand when he was 11. "Sometimes it's not that easy, especially to return the serve."

Wawrinka will play either Serbia's world number one Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open winner, or Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in Saturday's semi-finals.

(Editing by Larry Fine)

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