Rafael Nadal: hard at work at 2017 Abierto Mexicano Telcel

"I was a little bit nervous because I'm sure the crowd was rooting for Novak". I will have to play so much better than today if I want to have a shot. "My serve is the best part of my game and I had one of my best serving matches".

The world number six beat the odds and edged past in-form players, including Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov to set up a final clash with Roger Federer at the Australian Open and has continued his form in the ongoing tournament as well.

The 21-year-old Australian hammered down 25 aces to Djokovic's two but showed his full range of skills in one of the most complete performances of his career.

The top-seeded Briton, back in tournament action this week for the first time since the Australian Open, will take on seventh seed Lucas Pouille on Friday for a place in the final.

Another American, Sam Querrey, posted a 6-2 4-6 6-3 win over Great Britain's Kyle Edmund.

Querrey, who reached the semifinals in Acapulco in 2016, will face Belgian David Goffin, the fifth-seed in Mexico.

Andy Murray moved into the Dubai Duty Free Championships semi-finals on Thursday after emerging triumphant from a remarkable last-eight match against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, winning a pivotal 38-point tie-break.

His next rival will be the 2nd seed Rafael Nadal who remained undefeated in Acapulco (12-0), as a two-time champion hold off a valiant effort from Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka by 7-6 6-3 in just under 2 hours.

The same pair met earlier this year in Brisbane, Australia, where Nadal also emerged with a win.

That's not to say that the wiry Serb doesn't still have the goods, it just means that, well, it means that things like the below are beginning to creep into his game.

Rafael Nadal meets Marin Cilic in the other semi.

"I am excited about playing this match", Nadal said.

  • Julie Sanders