Nishikori, Fer­rer into Barcelona semi­fi­nals

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Reign­ing cham­pion Kei Nishikori moved into t he semi­fi­nals of the Barcelona Open with 6- 2, 3- 6, 6- 1 win over Spa­niard Roberto Bautista Agut on Fri­day.

The Ja­panese is the heavy fa­vorite 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 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 ground­strokes forced Bautista Agut onto the back foot as Nishikori cruised through the fi­nal

first five games to take his place in the last four where he will meet Martin Kl­izan.

“In the sec­ond set he started to play well and I had to raise my level a lit­tle bit,” said topseeded Nishikori.

“I con­cen­trated re­ally well in the third set, got ahead early and came through re­ally strong in the end.

“I 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 fa­vorite Tommy Ro­bredo in straight sets 7- 6 ( 7/ 5), 6- 4.

Third 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).

The Spa­niard will play com­pa­triot Pablo An­du­jar in Satur­day’s semi­fi­nals af­ter he up­set a flat Fognini 6- 1, 6- 3 in just over an hour on court.

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