Barcelona Open: Nishikori eases into semis

Japan's Kei Nishikori overcame a tough first set to defeat Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets to reach the semifinals of Barcelona Open on Friday.

Kei Nishikori admits to being transformed after saving four set points against Alexandr Dolgopolov.   -  Getty Images

Defending champion Kei Nishikori extended his winning streak at the Barcelona Open to 13 matches as he overcame stiff first set resistence to beat Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-0 to reach the semifinals on Friday. Nishikori had to save four set points when serving at 5-4 down in the first set, but held on before romping through the second set.

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"He had a couple of set points. It was great to save them and after that I gained a bit of confidence and I was a different player," Nishikori told Spanish TV station Teledeporte.

"He is a tricky player, he has a great serve and can be really aggressive. I struggled a bit in the first set, but I was much better in the second and happy to get through today."

Nishikori will face Frenchman Benoit Paire in Saturday's semifinals after the sixth seed overcame Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. Eight-time champion in Barcelona Rafael Nadal is aiming to exact revenge on his conqueror from last year Fabio Fognini in their quarterfinal later on Friday.

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