Murray comes from behind to sink inconsistent Nishikori
Andy Murray punished Kei Nishikori for a lack of consistency on Wednesday, the world number one prevailing in four sets to reach the French Open semi-finals for a fourth year running.
Nishikori dominated the opening set on Court Philippe Chatrier, but a time violation penalty appeared to spark Murray into life as the Briton reeled off five games in a row to level the match.
There were flashes of brilliance from Nishikori thereafter, but the eighth seed was ultimately made to pay for a succession of errors at key moments, most notably as he performed abysmally in a third-set tie-break.
Murray - the losing finalist at Roland Garros 12 months ago - eventually triumphed 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-0) 6-1 in two hours and 39 minutes. He will now face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka, the man he beat in last year's semi-finals.
"I needed to start putting a little bit more pace on my shots," said Murray in an on-court interview following his victory. "He [Nishikori] was dictating all of the points in the first set. Once I started to get into a rhythm I was able to keep him a bit further away from the baseline and that made a big difference."
Nishikori got the better of Murray when the two met in the quarter-finals of last year's US Open and looked capable of repeating the feat early on as he consistently forced his opponent on to the back foot.
Murray's frustration grew when, after a warning in the first set, he received a time violation penalty leading to a loss of first serve in game three of the second from Carlos Ramos - the same umpire who penalised Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for identical offences earlier in the tournament.
However, the incident brought the best out of the top seed and he was soon on level terms, aided by a dip in form from Nishikori.
The Japanese twice came from behind in a third set that ebbed and flowed, only to surrender meekly during the subsequent breaker.
Nishikori hit back by winning the first game of the fourth against serve, but it was one-way traffic thereafter as an increasingly assured Murray cruised to victory.
Murray  bt Nishikori  2-6 6-1 7-6 [7-0] 6-1
Murray - 31/26
Nishikori - 33/45
Murray - 3/6
Nishikori - 1/2
BREAK POINTS WON
Murray - 7/12
Nishikori - 5/9
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Murray - 62
Nishikori - 56
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Murray - 74/43
Nishikori - 62/46
Murray - 109
Nishikori - 91