Andy Murray breezed into his fourth straight French Open semi-final after beating Kei Nishikori in four sets at Roland Garros. The world number one lost the opening set but after a time violation in the second set he never looked back and will face Stanislas Wawrinka for a place in the final in a repeat of last year's last four clash.
Nishikori was biding to repeat one of only two wins over the Briton from last year's US Open, and was hitting the ball supremely to storm into the lead. Murray was badly in need of inspiration and he was handed it via umpire Carlos Ramos who gave the 2016 runner-up a time violation while serving at 1-1 in the second set.
Murray was noticeably rejuvenated and won five games in a row to square the match before going a break up in the third as his grip on the match tightened. Nishikori, the Japan number one, did break back but the three-time major champion prevailed 7-0 in the tiebreak.
The frustrated was painted all over Nishikori's face as he flung his racquet to the floor but the former US Open finalist seemingly had a foothold when Murray reeled off a string to errors to trail at the start of the fourth. However, the revival was short-lived as the double Olympic gold medallist won six games in a row to booked another clash with Wawrinka after winning 2-6 6-1 7-6 6-1.
"I needed to put a bit more pace on my shots," said the 30-year-old of his second set turnaround. "He was dictating all of the points in the first set. Obviously it was quite windy today so timing was a little bit difficult but once I started to get in a better rhythm I was able to keep him a bit further away from the baseline and that made a big difference.
"Obviously [Wawrinka] has played fantastic in this tournament, I don't think he's dropped a set. Last year he was playing very well and I had to play one of my best matches on clay to win. I know it will be very tough but I will fight as hard as I can, hopefully play some good tennis and make it a tough battle. Happy to be in the semis again. It has not always been easy for me here but these last few years have been great."
Earlier, the 2015 champion Wawrinka maintained his record of not dropping a set in the tournament with a straightforward victory over Marin Cilic. The 32-year-old Swiss took just 100 minutes to dispose of the 2014 US Open champion to reach the semi-final for a third time in a row.