Defending champion Kei Nishikori extended his winning streak at the Barcelona Open to 13 matches as he overcame stiff first set resistence to beat Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals on Friday.
Nishikori had to save four set points when serving at 5-4 down in the first set, but held on before romping through the second set.
“He had a couple of set points. It was great to save them and after that I gained a bit of confidence and I was a different player,” Nishikori told Spanish TV station Teledeporte.
“He is a tricky player, he has a great serve and can be really aggressive. I struggled a bit in the first set, but I was much better in the second and happy to get through today.”
Nishikori will face Frenchman Benoit Paire in Saturday’s semi-finals after the sixth seed overcame Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Eight-time champion in Barcelona Rafael Nadal is aiming to exact revenge on his conqueror from last year Fabio Fognini in their quarter-final later on Friday.