Ivan Dodig marched past Fabio Fognini, to send the hapless Italian crashing out of a tournament that has been full of surprises.
The Croatian was expected to meekly surrender to the no8 seed on Court 1, but in a battle of the big hitters it became an intriguing tie of the highest quality – but over in just under an hour.
With moisture in the air – and on the court – Fognini slipped up and although he produced some divine shots he was outclassed by Dodig.
A very sparse crowd were treated to some terrific baseline battles, but Fognini was clearly frustrated at the lower than usual bounce because of the light drizzle and came close on occasions to smashing his racquet into the grass.
Fognini had also made a slow start in his previous match before bouncing back to see off Slovakian Martin Klizan.
Last time he trailed he altered tactics by approaching the net, totally opposite of his natural instinct to stay back with penetrating deep shots employed as his weapon of choice. But for some reason Fognini stuck with his guns but misfired in the baseline battle.
Fognini preserved his energy to scramble around the court in vain attempts to return thunderous drives and sliced backhands from Dodig, who will be relying on his solid serve in his second semi-final this year when he faces Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for a place in Saturday’s final.
Dodig’s best finish at a grass court event was as runner-up at the 2011Topshelf Open in the Netherlands, but if he can overturn Lopez then will face a golden opportunity to better that result.