"It's going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in the history of the sport", insisted Nadal. He schooled a clearly frustrated Tomas Berdych who just could not get it together when it counted, except when it came to killing his racquet at the end.
Earning his first break point to start the second set, Lopez put a backhand into the bottom of the net as Djokovic won a 23-shot rally to save it and eventually hold.
And only a poor return on his break point opportunities denied Nadal just as convincing a scoreline as the Spaniard took only two of his 13 chances.
However, a mixture of Almagro nerves and Djokovic upping his intensity saw the world No. 2 react immediately to level at 3-3.
Djokovic is coming off of a win over Feliciano Lopez.
"I was very close to losing it, as well".
Curling a running forehand victor, Lopez issued a love hold for 3-all. When you win every single match in every tournament, that is abnormal. He may have beaten Djokovic in Monte-Carlo but he then lost to Nadal, in their only meeting to date, 6-3, 6-1.
However, the 14-time Grand Slam champion has a hard route to that potential matchup as he faces Fabio Fognini later Wednesday and potentially Nick Kyrgios in the third round.
Fourth seed Nadal won 6-3 6-1 in 72 minutes in a match which showed promise early but quickly became a procession.
The 10th-ranked Belgian surged into his second straight Masters quarterfinal where he will meet either four-time champion Rafael Nadal, who swept Goffin in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semifinals last month, or 20th-ranked Nick Kyrgios, who defeated Goffin in the Miami Open in March. On the other hand, Djokovic benefitted from his last-eight opponent Kei Nishikori's injury as the Japanese top-ranked player withdrew from the tie yesterday.
The Madrid Open started their rivalry, with the Spanish crowd witnessing an engrossing semi-final in 2009 lasting over four hours which Nadal won after saving three match points.
Halep will face in-form Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic or Svetlana Kuznetsova in Saturday's final.
In the WTA Madrid Open, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard advanced when top seed Angelique Kerber retired with a hamstring injury trailing 6-3, 5-0 in their third-round match.
"If it's muscle pain then I can play, but the wrist is a risky part and it could lead to big issues if I push myself, so I chose not to play", he said.
"I understand people are trying to speculate and create a list because I was saying I would like to have someone who was kind of in my shoes before".
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.
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