New York: World No. 2 Andy Murray ran out of ideas to prolong his stay at the US Open.
Murray had been tipped as one of the favourites to win his first major title here but he scarcely resembled a player rated second best in the world as he yelled, screamed and shouted his way to a 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 last 16 defeat by Croatian Marin Cilic.
Tuesday I could have been better in pretty much every part of the game, whether it was mental or serve, forehand, backhand returns. I just struggled today. I played poorly, Murray said.
The Britons abysmal performance left Cilic to face another rising 20-year-old, Juan Martin del Potro, in the quarter finals. The Argentine sixth seed cantered to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win over Juan Carlos Ferrero (as reported in Wednesdays Late City edition).
Ferreros fellow-Spaniard Rafael Nadal looked vulnerable for one set before he ended the antics of French showman Gael Monfils 6-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Nadals win was celebrated by an overzealous male fan who ran on to the court moments after the match ended and kissed the Spaniards cheek before being hauled away and arrested.
Another former top-ranked player added to the feel-good factor at this years championships.
Belgian mother-of-one Clijsters, who flew into New York with more toys stashed in her suitcase than rackets, showcased her lightning court speed as she dispatched Chinas Li Na 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals.
Next up for Clijsters, who needed a wildcard to play here as she does not even own a ranking yet, will be three-time champion Serena Williams.
The American second seed has been doing the rounds in New York promoting her autobiography but conserved enough energy to surge past Italian world No. 10 Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-3.
Looking forward to her match with Clijsters, Serena said: Shes such a great person. I wish only the best for her but obviously not in the next match.
Initially I was (surprised with her comeback) but a couple of weeks ago I knew she was someone to watch out for.
On Tuesday, it was the usually fleet-footed Murray who lumbered around court.
Carrying a left wrist injury which hindered his two-handed backhand, Murray went into meltdown after failing to take two set points on the Cilic serve at 5-4 in the opening frame.
With Murray emitting a series of anguished cries of aaargh and ayeeeeeee every time he missed a shot, those walking on the National Tennis Centre grounds might have thought Arthur Ashe Stadium had temporarily been turned into an ER.
Murray could have done with some medical attention but instead dropped serve at 5-5 and from then on the 16th seeded Cilic surrendered only four more games.