KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA – Roger Federer squandered a big lead and lost to No. 20-seeded Kei Nishikori 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Sony Open.
Federer was up a service break twice in the second set but couldn’t close out the victory. He lost serve five times and committed 39 unforced errors.
The semifinal berth is Nishikori’s second in an ATP Masters 1000 tournament, and his first in 2½ years.
Nishikori’s opponent Friday will be three-time champion Novak Djokovic, who benefited from an erroneous call in the pivotal game to beat Andy Murray 7-5, 6-3.
The disputed point occurred at the start of the 12th game, with Murray serving at 5-6. Djokovic charged forward to volley a short ball and hit it for a winner.
Murray argued — and TV replays confirmed — he should have be awarded the point because Djokovic’s racket was on the other side of the net when he hit the ball. Chair umpire Damian Steiner declined to change his call, and such rulings can’t be appealed for video review.
A flustered Murray then committed unforced backhand errors on the next three points to lose the game and the set. He took a lead in the second set but lost the final four games and the last 10 points.
Afterward, Murray downplayed the bad call.
“I’m not angry,” he said. “It maybe had a slight bearing on that game, but I was still up a break in the second set.”
Dominika Cibulkova erased three match points in the second set — one when a call was overturned via replay — and beat Agnieszka Radwanska 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. In Thursday’s semifinals, the No. 10-seeded Cibulkova will play the winner of the match Wednesday night between No. 2 Li Na and No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki.