Trailing 5-2 in the deciding set after also being 4-1 down in the second, Murray, who rose to number two in the world rankings on Monday, dug deep into his resources to rally for a victory that sets up a quarter-final against Richard Gasquet.
Novak Djokovic won his rain-delayed opening match, beating Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-2. Wawrinka went passed Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(5).
Djokovic played a drop shot, and Wawrinka got there.
“It was the best performance I had so far this week”, said Djokovic, who is 18-4 career against Wawrinka.
Andy Murray’s bid for a third Cincinnati Open title remains on course after he came through another testing battle to book a semi-final against Roger Federer.
Murray had to dig deep to advance to the semis but showed real grit as he fought back from a set down to win 4-6 6-1 6-4.
The players rode their serves to a tiebreak in the second set, where Federer went on to convert on his second match point.
Federer is 13-11 against Murray and has won their last four matches, including a straight-set win in the semifinals at Wimbledon this year.
Perhaps it was the fact Wawrinka had split two of their last four meetings with a pair or rousing major wins or maybe playing in the late-morning heat Djokovic was in no mood for benevolence. Although Djokovic said he no longer has elbow pain, the adjustments he made to cope with the injury slightly altered his serve routine.
“Such a short period of time before the U.S. Open, it’s a little bit unsafe”, she said.
The American was in typically dominant form and pulled out all her big aces to get the job done.
Djokovic is on a mission to finally win Cincinnati and become the first player in history to complete a matched set of all nine Masters 1000 trophies. You know, I just lost the intensity and concentration.
Top seed Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka each survived a scare at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals where they will clash in a rematch of the French Open final.
Qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine continued his winning spree as he defeated Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in three setter 6-3 3-6 6-4 in one hour and 55 minutes.
“I forgot how tricky Mardy was to play against”, Murray said after improving his career record to 5-4 against Fish.
The following game Wawrinka hit a forehand victor with some extra pace on it to force deuce but was unable to get the back as it was consolidated for 2-0.