Rafael Nadal crashed out of the China Open quarter finals to 20th-ranked Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, while Johanna Konta crushed home hero Zhang Shuai in two sets in the China Open quarter-finals on Friday.
Despite two breaks in the first set, the fourteen-time grand slam champion was unable to keep his serve and Dimitrov kept the pressure on for a 6-2, 6-4 victory – his first over the Spaniard.
“Losing five serves in a row is something that you cannot [do and] win a match like this. That’s it,” Nadal said after the loss.
The Spaniard, 30, is approaching the end of his second consecutive season without a slam title since he won his first aged 19 at Roland Garros in 2005.
The loss in the Chinese capital also puts his qualification for an 11th consecutive ATP World Tour Finals – which brings together the season’s top eight players – in doubt.
Dimitrov will next face Milos Raonic who beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-4, while Briton Andy Murray plays David Ferrer after the veterans earlier downed younger opponents.
Murray beat Davis Cup teammate Kyle Edmund 7-6 (11-9), 6-2 and Ferrer dispatched German youngster Alexander Zverev 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 7-5.
“I felt like in the second set, I did start to dictate more of the points,” Murray said after the match.
“More of the match was more on my terms then, whereas in the first set Kyle was dictating a lot.”
In the women’s, Briton Johanna Konta was also smashing dreams on Friday, as she crushed home favourite Zhang Shuai in two sets.
Buoyed by the home crowd, Zhang broke the Briton twice to take the opening four games of the match.
But at 0-4 down, Konta abruptly turned the tide in her favour winning 12 consecutive games to book her semi-final place with a 6-4, 6-0 victory.
“During the match I do my best to really try to impose myself on her because she definitely looks to dictate when she can. When she’s able to, she’s very dangerous,” Konta said.
Watch: Johanna Konta v Zhang Shuai highlights
The 14th-ranked Briton, who is set to play in next week’s Prudential Hong Kong Open, is now one win away from joining the top 10, which would make her the first British woman to join the elite grouping since Jo Durie in 1984.
Konta next faces American Madison Keys, who ended Petra Kvitova’s eight-match winning streak in an epic two-tiebreak victory, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5).