Andy Murray passed the most thorougher test of his Wimbledon credentials after staging a sterling comeback to defeat Fernando Verdasco in five sets to keep alive his bid of becoming the first British male singles champion at the All-England Club since 1936.
Murray defeated Verdasco 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5 to set up a fifth consecutive semi-final at The Championships against Poland's Jerzy Janowicz after coming back from two sets down for the seven time in his career.
Verdasco's power game was too much for the world No.2 in the opening two sets as Murray stood on the brink of exit at the quarter final stage.
But an early break in the third sparked a memorable comeback as the Olympic singles and US Open champion set up a deciding set which he duly took 7-5 to keep his Wimbledon dream alive and deny Verdasco, the Spanish No.9, a first grand slam semi-final appearance.
While Murray had came through the opening four rounds without dropping a set, amid the shocks of the men's draw, his edgy victory over Mikhail Youzhny suggested the British No.1 required an improved performance to reach a fifth consecutive Wimbledon semi-final.
He faced a man in Verdasco, his first left-handed opponent of 2013, who defeated him at the Australian Open in 2009 and after a convincing fourth round win over Kenny De Schepper, came into the match with reason to believe he could cause an upset against the home favourite.
The early going suggested Verdasco, who was in the last eight at the All-England Club for the first time, was feeling the nerves of the big occasion, netting a series of forehands as Murray sought the early advantage.
After a back injury prevented him competing at the French Open, Murray's movement was notably restricted and as Verdasco begun to reign in his own service game, he forced a spate of errors from the Brit, eventually benefiting from a double fault which handed the first set the Spaniard's way.
Given the shocks the tournament had already thrown up, the centre court crowd could be forgiven for fearing the worst, but Murray quickly eased those fears; breaking Verdasco as the 29 year old serve tightened up once again.
Verdasco wriggled out of his next service game when down 0-30, and such resilience paid dividends as Murray found the net from a volley, then went long with an open court forehand to gift his opponent the break back.
From a position of authority in the second set, Murray was handing Verdasco the initiative and two forehand errors saw more break points come the way of the Madrid-born player, who benefitted from a net cord to storm ahead.
Murray appeared certain to level the set as Verdasco hunted down a fifth consecutive game, but three break points were saved before the No.2 seed produced two more errors to fall two sets behind and leave his Wimbledon dreams in tatters.
The Olympic singles gold medallist had come back from two sets down six times in his career, and the early stages of the crucial third set gave him hope he could make it a seventh time, converting the first of two break points to lead 2-0.
A chance for a double break came and went for Murray in the fourth game but the US Open champion made no mistake in his next opportunity as Verdasco, whose game had hinged on his serve and clinical forehand, began to crumble in a position of strength.
In the presence of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Murray began his comeback as he served out to take the third set 6-1.
Both players left the court ahead of the fourth, a break which favoured the former world No.7, as Verdasco closed in on a pivotal break, only for Murray to shut the door in thrilling style after a rally which earned a rapturous reception from the now anxious crowd.
Two further break point chances came and went for Verdasco, Murray producing a pair of big first services to remain in the hunt, holding for 3-3 in the fourth. And it was a hold which was rewarded in the very next game as Murray broke Verdasco's resilience with another typical backhand passing winner.
In serving out the fourth set in comfortable style he forced a deciding set in which Murray went into as the big favourite, with Vedasco seemingly powerless to prevent the Brit wrestling the match away.
The world No.54 then produced more of the form which saw him win the opening two sets, finding the range with his forehand once again to quell the Murray threat at the start of the fifth.
At 3-4 and 0-30 down Murray produced a heroic hold to stay in the tournament but with Verdasco's service game continuing to be metronomic, the Brit was quickly forced into serving to remain in the match.
A reply with the most convincing service game of the match piled the pressure on Verdasco, who struggled finding a first serve in the opening points of the 11th game gifting Murray the platform for a break to put him on the brink of the last four.
Murray produced the service game required to book his semi-final spot against Janowicz, who stands between him and a second consecutive Wimbledon final.