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Relentless Nadal sets up Djokovic semi-final

14 May 2017

Rafael Nadal defeated David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-2 to set up high-octane semifinal showdown against Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open.

The Australian held on in the eighth game, but the hometown hero took the first set 6-3. ― Reuters picMADRID, May 13 ― Rafael Nadal insisted the furore caused by Novak Djokovic's dip in form over the past year has been overblown as he prepares to face the Serb for the 50th time.

The unseeded World No. 52 struck five aces in the final set and lost only three points over his final four service games, while Wawrinka won just two of his seven second-serve points in the third and was broken twice. Almagro looked better in the second set, but Djokovic rallied to close out the match.

Svetlana Kuznetsova remained one of only three of the top 10 seeds left in the draw with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Wang Qiang to reach the quarter-finals.

"My level of tennis was not so high today, but I managed to make it through the first round".

Kei Nishikori of Japan talks to the media after withdraw from the Madrid Open with an injury before his quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic.

"My physical condition is also getting better", said Nishikori, who is now 9-4 in his career meetings with Ferrer.

"I feel a little bit odd".

Young Croatian Borna Coric stunned world number one Andy Murray with a 6-3 6-3 victory and will meet Austria's Dominic Thiem, conqueror of Grigor Dimitrov, in the last eight.

Djokovic saved the only break point he conceded to Lopez, who was playing in the tournament for a record 16th time. "That was disappointing because you're not always going to play your best tennis but you can still find ways to make it hard for your opponent and I didn't do that today".

But I'm sure it's split a lot of opinion. "But I think by the French Open, or after the French Open, I'm going to have someone", he said. "Eventually the game will come together".

Nadal, on the other hand, is enjoying a resurgent 2017, finishing runner-up at the Australian Open, Acapulco and Miami, and then winning historic 10th titles at the Barcelona Open and Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal picked up his tour-leading 31st victory this year by easily defeating 16th-seeded Kyrgios, who never threatened after losing the first set. I think he's gaining his confidence again.

David Goffin broke serve four times carving up fifth-seeded Milos Raonic, 6-4, 6-2.