Rafael Nadal was up a set and had a break point against defending champion Milos Raonic when he sent a forehand just wide.
It was a mistake the 14-time Grand Slam champion wouldn't recover from.
Raonic made the most of the reprieve, holding serve in that fifth game of the second set and then attacking Nadal's serve in the eighth to swing the momentum his way in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final win Friday at the Brisbane International.
The top-seeded Canadian broke Nadal's serve again to start the third set, and calmly held on for only his second win in eight matches against the Spaniard.
Raonic served 23 aces and hit 50 winners to just 19 for Nadal, who could only convert one of his seven break-point opportunities.
Milos Raonic downs Rafael Nadal at Brisbane International quarter-finals2:25
As well as the big, deep service returns, Raonic also repeatedly went to the net, trusting his instincts and putting pressure on Nadal.
"Today the mentality behind the match was what sort of kept me around," the player from Thornhill, Ont., said. "Some moments things weren't looking great. I wasn't efficient coming forward. I was missing some shots I shouldn't be. I was rushing.
"But at least I kept myself there, and I was able to always recuperate the next point. That's what I have to be most proud of."
Nadal coming back from injury
Nadal, coming back from a layoff after an injured left wrist curtailed the end of his 2016 season, beat Raonic in an exhibition tournament last week. But Raonic played with more intensity in Brisbane, and Nadal said a couple of lapses were costly.
"Probably if I put that passing shot forehand cross, I had the break in the second set, big chance that we will be here one hour before with a victory," Nadal said. "That passing shot was long, and that's it. Then he had the break and match changes."
Nadal said three wins at the exhibition tournament, two wins and a close result in Brisbane gave him confidence his progress was good ahead of the Australian Open, where he is desperate to make amends for a surprising first-round exit last year.
Still in contention to start back-to-back seasons with a Brisbane title, Raonic will play seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov — a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 winner over No. 4 Dominic Thiem — in the semifinals.
Wawrinka to face off with Nishikori
U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka and third-seeded Kei Nishikori will meet in the other semifinal match.
The second-seeded Wawrinka beat unseeded Kyle Edmund 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semifinals in his first trip to the Brisbane tournament.
In the previous three years, Wawrinka won the title in Chennai in the first week of the season before heading to Australia for the season's first major.
Wawrkina has a 4-3 lead over Nishikori in career head-to-heads, including the semifinals at the U.S. Open last year, but Nishikori won two of the three meetings in 2016.
Nishikori has now reached the semifinals four times in seven visits to the Brisbane International, needing just an hour for a 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal win over Australian wild-card entry Jordan Thompson.
"I think I played one of the best matches so far, really dominating from the baseline and serving good today," Nishikori said. "Everything was working well."
U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova will play Alize Cornet in the women's final on Saturday.
Cornet was leading 4-1 when French Open champion Garbine Muguruza retired with a right thigh injury. Pliskova beat sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 in the other semifinal match.
"A little bit of luck never killed anybody," said Cornet, who finished last year ranked No. 46 but now expects to be seeded at the Australian Open. "I'm just going to take it. I really enjoy the fact that I'm in the final. It's a big day for me, yeah."
Muguruza didn't think the injury setback would trouble her at the Australian Open.
"It will not stop me," Muguruza said. "Cornet was playing good. I couldn't match her level today. I had some pains, and I thought it was smarter to take care of my body."
Latest USA News
- Sharing stories from here, our home
- Refugee's success shows potential of young newcomers
- Ready to launch
- Private practice
- Ferry held hostage until First Nation's problems addressed
- Blue stroll over watered-down Esks
- Time, fire erase last visible ties to community builder
- Former gridiron standout Idonije writes stories encouraging youngsters to be the best they can be
- Former attorney general Roland Penner dead at 93
- Playbook: Caps take 2-1 Cup series lead, Tkachuk a hot NHL prospect, Tiger lurking at Memorial and more...
- Mental illness cited in deaths of Steinbach father and son
- Brrrrr-utal! Spring temperatures likely weeks away
- Wheeler, muckers lead way to victory
- Civil trials moving at brisker pace
- Taking a stand against harassment
- City eyes traffic lights at site of fatal collision
- Winnipeg has love affair with horror
- Waste not, want not
- A valuable space, lost in litigation
- Free Press Head Start for April 3
- Secret life of plants making music
- Ex-Hydro chairman refutes premier
- Wire-to-wire world champ
- Optimism shines bright at upbeat Juno Awards show in Vancouver
- Canada joins U.S., Europe in expelling Russian spies for British poison attack
- Feds ease restrictions on prescription heroin to address opioid epidemic
- Mexico official: Iowa family died from water heater gas leak
- White House: Trump thinks Stormy Daniels lied about threat
- Developer to alter Pembina Highway apartment plans
- It's a great time to be a sports fan in Winnipeg
- He has the answers
- Manitoba announces operators of legal cannabis stores
- Feds to help Churchill residents pay high cost of gas
- Journalism still necessary in Canada: survey
- Getting into the weeds
- A call for justice
- Family, friends gather to protest reduced sentences for young offenders convicted of killing Serena McKay
- Two people dead in fatal trailer fire in Grand Rapids
- 200 mourners attend funeral for boy killed at crosswalk
- Jets penalty killing third-best in the league