The 23-year-old third seed, from Inverurie, near Aberdeen, won 15-10, 15-11, 13-15, 15-12, in 71 minutes and will now meet either another Australian, second seed Rodney Eyles, or Canadian sixth seed Jonathon Power. He is the first Scottish semi-finalist in the event since Michael Oddy in 1963.
"I have peaked at the right time this year," Nicol said. "I have come to dread the British Open, having gone out in the first round for the last few years but can finally treat it like any other tournament."
He admitted Martin had surprised him in the second game by slowing the pace to fight back from 5-12 to 11-12, then with an attack that saved three match balls at the end of the fourth.
In the women's event, the British national champion, Sue Wright, beat Linda Charman of Sussex 9-7, 9-5, 9-4 in 45 minutes to reach a semi-final against the world champion, Sarah Fitz-Gerald of Australia, who earlier removed her compatriot and fifth seed Liz Irving 9-1, 9-3, 9-2 in just 29 minutes.Reuse content