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MADRID – Rafael Nadal set up a semifinal against Novak Djokovic after withstanding a tough challenge from David Goffin 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 at the Madrid Open on Friday.
Djokovic, the defending champion, advanced when Kei Nishikori withdrew before their quarterfinal because of a wrist injury.
“It’s going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in tennis history,” Nadal said. “I’ve been playing at a high level during many weeks. I know tomorrow is going to be a day that either I play really well or I’m not going to have many chances.”
Nadal hasn’t beaten Djokovic since the 2014 French Open final, losing their last seven matchups.
“I’m not worried about it,” Nadal said. “There are matches that if you play your good tennis, you have chances. If he plays at a good level, he’s going to win. If we both play well . . . it can go either way.”
On the women’s side, defending champion Simona Halep of Romania cruised past Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-2, 6-3 to reach her third Madrid Open final. The third-seeded Halep, who lost the 2014 final to Maria Sharapova, will play Kristina Mladenovic of France.