World number two Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Andy Murray in a high-quality Sony Open quarter-final.
Djokovic, 26, won their first meeting since last July’s Wimbledon final 7-5 6-3 to end Murray’s reign in Miami.
Djokovic now faces 20th seed Kei Nishikori, who beat Roger Federer 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Murray, who played his best tennis since the Wimbledon final and his back surgery in September, dropped serve to love following a disagreement with the umpire, after 52 minutes of a gripping first set.
A replay on the stadium video screen showed Djokovic had clearly played a volley with his racquet over the net on the first point at 6-5.
That prompted Murray to approach the net and question his opponent, but the umpire insisted the Serb’s racquet had not crossed the net when it made contact with the ball.
The next three points raced away from Murray, who headed to his chair and told the official: “You’re having a laugh, you can see it on the replay. He [Djokovic] said his racquet was over the net!”
The incident sharpened Murray’s with early on in the second set and, after a stunning backhand winner from well outside the tramlines made it 2-2, he finally broke serve in the following game with some fierce hitting.
But when it looked the Scot was finally building a momentum he handed he handed it back to the number two-ranked player in a sloppy game that included two double-faults.
Djokovic then rolled through four straight games to seal victory.
Asked about the incident in the 12th game, Murray said: “I’m not angry. It maybe had a slight bearing on that game, but I was still up a break in the second set.”
The defeat means Murray, 26, will slip to eighth in the world next week – his lowest ranking since 2008.
Djokovic said on the incident in the 12th game: “Look, it might be my mistake,” said the six-time Grand Slam champion. “I think I crossed the net with the racquet. I didn’t touch the net.
“Maybe the rule is that you are not allowed to pass on his side with the racquet. I’m not sure. You tell me.”
In the women’s draw, Li Na beat Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 7-5 to set up last four tie against Dominika Cibulkova, who erased three match points in the second set — one when a call was overturned via replay — and beat Agnieszka Radwanska 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.
Six-time champion Serena Williams will play five-time runner-up Maria Sharapova in the other women’s semifinal. Williams has beaten Sharapova 14 consecutive times.