Barcelona - Reigning champion Kei Nishikori moved into the semi-finals of the
Barcelona Open with 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 win over Spaniard Roberto Bautista
Agut on Friday.
The Japanese is the heavy favourite to retain his
title after Rafael Nadal's shock defeat to Fabio Fognini on Thursday and
impressively romped through the deciding set after being forced all the
way for the first time this week.
Nishikori eased through the
first set after breaking in the first game, but Bautista Agut responded
by breaking for 4-2 in the second and held off three break points to
serve out for the set.
The world No 5 upped his game in the
third, though, as the depth and power of his ground strokes forced
Bautista Agut onto the back foot as Nishikori cruised through the final
five games to take his place in the last four where he will meet Tommy
Robredo or Martin Klizan.
"In the second set he started to play well and I had to raise my level a little bit," said Nishikori.
"I concentrated really well in the third set, got ahead early and came through really strong in the end."