Novak Djokovic in Madrid Open 2017 semi final

Djokovic was punching the air after racing in to swoop for an incredible cross-court backhand victor, prompting applause from his stunned opponent, and the pressure told on Lopez when he netted a forehand to bow out when serving to stay in the tournament. "I don't know how the decision will affect Djokovic".

However, the Serbian has had a dismal season so far, struggling with an elbow injury and with no titles to his name. Nishikori loves the conditions in Madrid, and he will be competing in his fifth successive quarterfinal in the Spanish capital. "It's one of the matches that you go back home with a lot of adrenaline and feel satisfied for the work done". Djokovic began his title defence against Spain's Nicolas Almagro, who is towards the end of his career but still a unsafe player, possessing a lot of firepower. Nadal has failed to beat his semi-final opponent in their last seven meetings with his last win coming in the finals of the French Open in 2014. This year, he won in Brisbane and then Sofia, and in between made a stunning run to the semis in the Australian Open, where he came within touching distance of beating Nadal in a five-set, five-hour thriller.

Because since that French Open victory, Djokovic has hit the wall. The Serb, with his lethal backhand that has always troubled Nadal, has it in him to stop the King of Clay from reigning supreme today.

After reaching the Istanbul Open final last week, Raonic looks to continue his strong play when he lines up against ninth-seeded Belgian David Goffin on Thursday.

Djokovic cruised in the first set by breaking the 76th-ranked Almagro three times. They only met twice in 2015 in the quarterfinals in Rome which Djokovic needed three sets to do so, and comprehensively, 6-1, 6-1 in their round robin encounter in London.

Halep faces Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in today's semi-finals after the world No. 22 saw off Kiki Bertens 6-3, 6-3.

More Almagro errors flowed to give Djokovic another break for 6-5 and he served out for the match.

Rafael Nadal takes on Novak Djokovic in the men's singles semi-finals in the Madrid Masters on Saturday (13 May).

But some words of advice from coach Darren Cahill prompted a swift turnaround and she won the next six games to march into her third Madrid final in 73 minutes.

Rafael Nadal set up a semifinal with Novak Djokovic after withstanding a tough challenge from David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-2 at the Madrid Open on Friday.

  • Julie Sanders