Murray pleased to break new ground in Barcelona

Neither man was quite at his best on Friday, but Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal remain on course for a Barcelona Open final showdown.

Andy Murray celebrates reaching the Barcelona Open semi-finals   -  Getty Images

Andy Murray expressed his satisfaction at reaching the last four of the Barcelona Open for the first time after gaining a measure of revenge over Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The World No. 1 suffered defeat at the hands of the Spaniard in the Monte-Carlo Masters third round last week and looked in danger of being dumped out again on Friday as Ramos-Vinolas took the first set.

But in what has become trademark style, Murray fought back to level the match and, after twice going a break down in the decider, recovered to advance 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) and set up a semifinal meeting with Dominic Thiem, who saw off Yuichi Sugita 6-1, 6-2.

"I've never reached the semifinals here before, so that's good," Murray said. "It's nice to do that, but I'd like to reach the final now.

"It's one of the biggest clay-court events on the ATP World Tour just because of the history. A lot of great players have played here and won in the past.

"It was very similar to the match in Monte Carlo, except in that match I was the one who had chances there, and today he had more chances to win. I feel like I was a little more aggressive at the end of the second and third sets and then played a good tie-break.

"I'm obviously tired, but that's why it was important for me to get matches, especially ones like today. It's good physically to have the long ones."

Murray remains on course for a final against nine-time and defending champion Rafael Nadal, who defeated Ramos-Vinolas in the final in Monte Carlo for his 10th crown in the principality.

Nadal was not at his best in the early stages against qualifier Hyeon Chung and went a break behind, but the 'King of Clay' lived up to his moniker with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory.

The Spaniard will be firm favourite to reach yet another Barcelona final when he heads into Saturday's last-four meeting with Horacio Zeballos, who saw off Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1.