Murray comes unstuck against Verdasco, Fognini through in Chengdu
Fernando Verdasco proved too good for Andy Murray for the second time in just over four weeks as the Spaniard moved into the Shenzhen Open semi-finals.
Murray's return to grand slam action was halted by Verdasco at the US Open and the former world number one came up short again in China, the Briton unable to find the rhythm that saw him crush David Goffin in the previous round.
The early signs suggested Murray's quest for a second Shenzhen title was on as he applied pressure to the Verdasco serve but, as would become a common theme, he struggled to convert at the crucial time.
Four break chances passed him by in the opening set, the final two proving costly as Verdasco finished strongly to move 5-4 ahead, before serving out to love.
With the wind in his sails Verdasco marched into the last four thanks to a solitary break of serve in the second, his confident play leaving Murray frustrated at his own mistakes on the other side of the court.
Verdasco's 6-4 6-4 win means he will meet Yoshihito Nishioka next after he battled past another Briton - Cameron Norrie - 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.
Seventh seed Alex de Minaur ended Damir Dzumhur's hopes with a straight-sets win, securing a last-four berth alongside Pierre-Hugues Herbert – the Frenchman having come from behind to beat Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.
Fabio Fognini is only two wins away from a fourth title of the season after cruising into the Chengdu Open semi-finals on Friday.
The top seed only needed just 66 minutes to dispatch Matthew Ebden 6-4 6-2, his win setting up a last-four encounter with Taylor Fritz.
Fritz came through an all-American quarter-final with Sam Querrey, the rising star only dropping four points on his serve in the second set after claiming the tie-break in the opener.
Joao Sousa will meet qualifier Bernard Tomic in the second semi-final, the latter ending the fairytale run of Felix Auger-Aliassime with a 6-2 6-4 win.