French Open finalist Robin Söderling had no answer for Golubev as the Swede played his 10th quarter-final of the season but came up a 6-3, 6-2 loser to the number 41, winner of the Hamburg clay title in July.
Golubev was not the only player to upset the Malayisan Open’s formbook with Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer beating Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdychin a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 turnaround lasting two and a half hours, for the right to face Golubev in an unheralded semi-final.
Söderling, who lost a Malaysian Open semi-final last year, looked like he might be able to lift the title this time around after the elimination of main rival and defending champion Nikolay Davydenko.
But Golubev changed that script emphatically in 71 minutes, breaking the Scandinavian favourite four times while never losing his own serve.
“He played really well,” said Söderling. “I’ve played well for a few weeks now but I was not at my best.”
“I wish I could have played better. But I have to forget this match and concentrate on the big events in Beijing and Shanghai coming up.”
Russians Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny will face each other in the other semi-final after both battled through three sets in their quarter-final matches.
Qualifier Andreev, who was once ranked in the ATP Top 20, ended the dream run of Canadian teenager Milos Raonic 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
US Open semi-finalist Youzhny continued his own run of form to defeat sixth-seeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-1.
Youzhny has won two of his three matches against his 102-ranked compatriot, with their last meeting in January 2009 in Doha.
Youzhny earned his 37th victory of the season in two hours 40 minutes of struggle against Baghdatis, with the Russian breaking serve seven times.
Andreev put an end to a run in which Raonic won his first two career victories on the ATP.
“It was a very tough match,” said Andreev. “He’s got a lot of potential. I’m happy with how I played today, I was able to use my chances and earn the win.”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played a semi-final (February 14th on clay in Brazil). It’s great to play well again and win some matches.
“It gives you confidence and a great feeling.”