Nick Kyrgios’ Madrid Open campaign is over after he fell to a three-set 6-7 (8-6) 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 loss to world No.6 Kei Nishikori is a high-quality quarter-final clash on Friday.
In a contest that lasted two hours 38 minutes, the 20-year-old Australian showed great fighting qualities to win the opening set after saving two break points and then coming from 5-3 down in the tiebreak to take the set.
The loss clearly rattled the Japanese right-hander who uncharacteristically lost his cool early in the second set when he belted a ball into the crowd in frustration after failing to capitalise on two break points in the opening game.
Both players held their nerve on serve and Kyrgios finally sensed an opportunity when leading 5-6 with a blistering return to make it 30-all
However, Nishikori kept his composure to win the game and take he match to a second tie-break which he went on to win comfortably.
Visibly growing in confidence, Nishikori raced into a 3-1 lead by finally breaking the Kyrgios serve in the fourth game and then saved three break points to wrap up a victory that will see him face Novak Djokovic or Milos Raonic in the semi-final.
Andy Murray earlier defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2 to reach his second consecutive semi-final at a Masters tournament on clay.
Murray was in control from the start against the eighth-ranked Berdych, hitting 20 winners and not conceding any break points.
The defending champion will next play either fifth-ranked Rafael Nadal who beat Joao Sousa in three sets.
Murray, No.2 in the world, lost to Nadal in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last month.
The British player has won six of his last seven games on clay, the surface he struggled on the most early in his career.
Murray needs to win the title this weekend to avoid being overtaken by Roger Federer in the rankings.