Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Rafa Nadal sets up a clash with Novak Djokovic — ATP MADRID


After a blistering start, Djokovic had to battle back from 3-0 down in the deciding set to book his place in the last 16 on Thursday against Feliciano Lopez or Gilles Simon.

Djokovic hasn't played in the semifinals of any event since winning the title in Doha at the beginning of the year.

And the Spaniard sympathised with Djokovic's struggles to maintain the same level of consistency for so many years having been through the same experience himself.

"I've been playing at a high level for many weeks, but I know tomorrow is a day when either I'll have to play really well or I'm not going to have many chances". "Eventually the game will come together".

Goffin put up a spirited fight against the Spaniard until the tie-break, which was dominated by Nadal who converted his second set point.

Coric, who lost in the second round of qualifying to Mikhail Kukushkin, got into the main draw when Richard Gasquet withdrew.

He will now face world number two Djokovic for the 50th time.

The Austrian broke the serve of Coric three times during the match and saved each of Coric's three break point chances.

“To win 6-3, 6-1 against an opponent as good as Nick, isnt normal.”.

"I was very close to losing it, as well".

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"I did my work in the end of the match".

Nadal will be meeting next his old rival Novak Djokovic.

12-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic has a 29-26 head-to-head record against Nadal.

Controversial Australian Kyrgios cruised past American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-3. "Winning is very important but also the way I'm playing at the moment makes me very relaxed".

Kei Nishikori recovered from a awful start to beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 1-6, 6-0, 6-4. Meanwhile, Djokovic advanced when Kei Nishikori withdrew before their quarter-final because of a wrist injury.

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6 (5), 6-3.

In today's semi-final, Djokovic will play the victor of yesterday's quarter-final between Belgian David Goffin and four-time victor and home favourite Rafael Nadal, who extended his flawless record on clay this season to 12-0 with a 6-3, 6-1 destruction of Australian Nick Kyrgios on Thursday.

Kuznetsova will face the victor of an intriguing clash between top seed Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard, who dumped out Maria Sharapova in thrilling fashion Monday.

"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 guess it's normal that people start coming up with names". This match also serves as a great prelude to the French Open.

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