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 number five upped his game in the
third, though, as the depth and power of his groundstrokes 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 Martin
"In the second set he started to play well and I had to raise my level a little bit," said top-seeded Nishikori.
"I concentrated really well in the third set, got ahead early and came through really strong in the end.
feel sorry for Rafa, but Fognini is a very tough player and there are
plenty other good players in the draw like Klizan or David Ferrer."
Slovakia's Martin Klizan ended the hopes of veteran home favourite Tommy Robredo in straight sets 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
seed Ferrer is also into the last four after he overcame some stiff
resistance from Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber to win 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
Spaniard will play compatriot Pablo Andujar in Saturday's semi-finals
after he upset a flat Fognini 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour on court.
Results from the ATP Barcelona Open on Friday
Kei Nishikori (JPN x1) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x7) 6-2, 3-6, 6-1
Martin Klizan (SVK x14) bt Tommy Robredo (ESP x9) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
David Ferrer (ESP x3) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x12) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Pablo Andujar (ESP) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x13) 6-1, 6-3