Top-seeded Andy Murray advanced to the semifinals of the Japan Tennis Open on Friday, but Tomas Berdych and Janko Tipsarevic -- the next two seeded players -- were not as fortunate.
Murray, the defending Tokyo champ, went the distance in his quarterfinal win over Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, posting a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory, while Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to reach the semifinals of this event with a 7-5, 6-4 win over the second-seeded Berdych and Milos Raonic saved a match point in a 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) triumph over the third- seeded Tipsarevic.
For Murray, it was his 10th straight victory. He is playing for the first time since capturing his first career Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open last month. The Scottish star had a brilliant summer, winning the gold medal in front of the British faithful at the London Olympics after a run to the final at Wimbledon.
Next up for Murray will be the sixth-seeded Raonic. The two have already split a pair of meetings this year.
Raonic won the first in a clay quarterfinal in Barcelona back in April before Murray earned a straight-set win in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. They were scheduled to play two other times, but Raonic was forced to pull out in Miami and Murray withdrew in Toronto.
Nishikori, meanwhile, came up with one of his biggest wins of the year and has reached his second straight semifinal. He was 0-6 in quarterfinals this year, including a loss to Murray at the Australian Open, before finally winning a round of eight match last week in Malaysia with a victory over Nikolay Davydenko. Juan Monaco then beat Nishikori in the semis on his way to the Kuala Lumpur title.
The eighth-seeded Nishikori improved to 3-1 lifetime against Berdych, avenging a loss to the Czech star earlier this year in Monte Carlo.
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus will be Nishikori's semifinal foe this week. The former Australian Open runner-up advanced Friday with a 6-2, 6-4 rout of Russia's Dmitry Tursunov. Baghdatis has reached a semifinal for the first time since February, when he lost to Lukas Lacko in Zagreb.
Baghdatis has won all three lifetime meetings with Nishikori, including a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in Brisbane to start the 2012 campaign.
The winner of this event will claim a first prize of $308,000.