Nishikori and Thiem join Nadal in Barcelona semifinals

Rafael Nadal joined Kei Nishikori, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem in the Barcelona Open semi-finals.

Kei Nishikori will face Daniil Medvedev in the semifinal of the Barcelona Open.   -  Getty Images

Kei Nishikori maintained his challenge for a third Barcelona title after battling past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 7-5 on Friday.

The world number seven came through a tough contest after one hour and 53 minutes against one of the home favourites to secure a semifinal showdown with Daniil Medvedev.

Nishikori broke in the opening game and saw out a strong opening set after surviving some nervy moments at 5-4. Baena showed redoubtable defence in the second, holding onto his serve despite facing eight break points, but he seemed to tweak a muscle in his right thigh when trying to stop a Nishikori backhand and the Japanese claimed the win soon afterwards.

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He will face Medvedev in the last four after the Russian dispatched Nicolas Jarry 6-3, 6-4.

The seventh seed was in commanding form as he came through blustery conditions and the confidence of an opponent who had already beaten Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov this week.

"It was dry and windy, so the balls were flying a lot," Medvedev said. "I needed to win it. I needed to be in the semifinals. I won it and I'm happy."

Rafael Nadal reached the last four with a fine 7-5, 7-5 win over Jan-Lennard Struff, the 11-time champion securing his passage to the next round with a quite stunning forehand passing shot.

Nadal will face Dominic Thiem next, who was in imperious form to defeat Guido Pella 7-5 6-2, winning nine of the final 11 games.