Rafael Nadal won his 13th straight match on clay as he remains on course for a fifth Madrid Masters title, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the King of Clay who for the second time during this cay court swing, he faced that determined Belgian David Goffin.
It's going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in tennis history Rafa Nadal
The Spaniard won 7-6(3) 6-2 to reach the semifinals saving all of the five break-points against him while converting his chances with elan in what was his 32nd win of the year to set up a last four, mouth-watering meeting with Novak Djokovic, the Serb who progressed thanks to a walk-over from Kei Nishikori who has suffered a wrist injury.
Goffin, who has 27 victories, was trying to make it to his third final of this season.
He saved all six break opportunities he conceded to Nadal in the first set, but the fifth-ranked Spaniard took control of the tiebreaker under the closed roof on centre court of the Caja Magica.
Nadal, a four-time champion in Madrid, had an easier time in the second set after earning an early break, and closed out the match with another at the end.
"We had to hit very close to the line to win the points," said Nadal, who is trying to win his third consecutive title after victories in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Looking ahead to the semis, Nadal told reporters: It’s going to be a very tough match against one of the best players in tennis history. I know that to be able to have chances, I have to give 100%. Well, I think that I’ve been playing at a high level during many weeks.
I know tomorrow is going to be a day that either I play really well or I’m not going to have many chances. I think IÈve done my homework. Tomorrow is a day to try to give my best. Hopefully I’ll be ready for that.
In the other quarterfinals, Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay rallied to beat Alexander Zverev of Germany 3-6 6-0 6-4 while Dominic Thiem coasted past Borna Coric 6-1 6-4.