Tomas Berdych outlasted second seed Andy Murray in a marathon battle of missed opportunities on Friday to earn a 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 trip into the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.
The frustrated Murray ended with a forehand wide on a second match point for fifth seed Berdych, who qualified into the field for the year-end World Tour Finals starting a week from Sunday in London.
The quarter-final struggle lasted for nearly three-and-a-quarter hours, with Murray missing on 15 of 17 break point chances and Berdych managing to break twice from 14 opportunities.
Murray will now head home to London to prepare for the eight-man season wrap-up without having ever reached a semi-final at the Bercy arena.
Berdych now stands 3-1 over Murray in their series, winning their last three dating to 2006 and including a victory last year at Roland Garros.
Berdych, the winner in Paris in 2005, will play either Roger Federer or Argentine Juan Monaco in Saturday's semi-finals.
Off court, top seed Novak Djokovic pulled out to hand Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a walkover into the last four due to a shoulder injury.
The Serb world number one said his shoulder had worsened after his 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over compatriot Viktor Troicki on Thursday.
"Sadly I have to inform you that I have withdrawn from the further tournament," Djokovic announced on his official website.
"I have pushed myself to the limit by playing, and after the match yesterday my shoulder got worse.
"For this reason, I have to put my health first and withdraw even though my urges as a professional player are making me want to play until the last drop of energy.
"I am very sorry for all of you who bought tickets and wanted to come and watch me play. My season has been long and tiring, I played all of my matches at my highest level, and now my body is aching for recovery. Hoping for your understanding and support."
ATP officials said Friday that Djokovic flew directly to his Monte Carlo base to begin treatment by the same specialists who somehow got him fit for a Paris start after re-injuring the shoulder in last weekend's Basel semi-final loss to Kei Nishikori.
With players for the eight-man World Tour Finals in London due in on Thursday, the timetable gives Djokovic at least six treatment days.
Should he get a Monday (November 21) start at the year-ender, he would have ten days to aim for fitness for the problem which also forced him to quit at mid-match in the August Cincinnati final against Murray.
Djokovic, who has notched up 10 titles this year including successes at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, on Wednesday laughed off suggestions that he only turned up for the Paris Masters in order to avoid missing out on a $1.6 million windfall.
Djokovic's participation was cast into doubt by his shoulder injury and, having already pulled out of last month's Shanghai Masters, another withdrawal would have cost him his lucrative share of the ATP bonus pool.
"If I know that I'm physically good enough to be competing, I will compete. If I don't, I will not compete," he said at the time.