Bernard Tomic ended Kei Nishikori’s streak of semi-final appearances at the Brisbane International on Friday with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win, his first over a Top-10 player on home soil.
Beating the second-seeded Nishikori set Tomic on course for a semi-final against 2015 finalist Milos Raonic, and a possible Top-16 seeding for the Australian Open, which starts in 10 days in Melbourne.
Fourth-seeded Raonic, who lost the Brisbane final last year to Roger Federer, relied on his big serve to dictate a 6-4, 6-4 win over 78th-ranked Lucas Pouille.
Tomic fired nine aces in the first set and broke in the eighth game, but Nishikori, the 2014 US Open finalist, won five straight games in the second to level the match and maintain his hopes of reaching the Brisbane semi-finals for the fourth straight year.
After an exchange of breaks early in the third set, Tomic clinched it on his first match point, avenging a loss to Nishikori in Brisbane last year.
“That was very, very special to me,” Tomic said. “Last year, unfortunately, I lost very comfortably to Kei, and today played very different.”
Tomic, who hasn’t been back to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since reaching the last eight at Wimbledon in 2011 as an 18-year-old qualifier, had a career-high 40 match wins in 2015, and said he’s starting to find the consistency needed to be competitive at the majors.
Federer will play Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals late on Friday. The winner will play Dominic Thiem, the youngest player in the top 20, who beat third-seeded Marin Cilic 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
On the women’s side, fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber moved into the final by beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-3. Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and US qualifier Samantha Crawford will play the other semifinal, after Federer’s match.
At Auckland, New Zealand, Julia Goerges reached her sixth WTA final and her first in four years when she beat qualifier Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-2 in an ASB Classic semifinal between players on the comeback trail.
Goerges, ranked 50th, last reached a final at Dubai in 2012 when her ranking peaked at No. 15. Paszek was playing her seventh match at the tournament after winning her way through qualifying into the main draw.
Sloane Stephens was leading 5-2 in the first set of the other semi against third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki when rain halted play, forcing it to be postponed to Saturday.
At the Hopman Cup at Perth, Andy Murray and Heather Watson each had 6-3, 6-4 singles wins over respective German opponents Alexander Zverev and Sabine Lisicki, and combined to win the mixed doubles by the same margin to secure a 3-0 win that kept Britain in contention for Saturday’s final.
The Australia Green team can seal a spot in the final against Ukraine with a win over France late on Friday.
Watson lost just four points on her serve in the first set and broke Lisicki three times.
“Today was, I am not going to say some of the best tennis I have played because the rallies were really short, but I feel like I have definitely got better,” Watson said. “When I was warming up before the match I knew I was feeling great in all aspects of my game.”