Second seed Novak Djokovic takes on sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the Men's singles quarter-final of 2017 Madrid Open on Friday.
Djokovic, the defending champion, brushed aside a stern challenge from local player Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-5 in his R16 match yesterday. On the other hand, Nishikori, who is playing his first tournament of the season on European clay in Madrid, decimated David Ferrer in straight sets to set up his 14th career meeting with the Serbian star.
Djokovic did look rusty in his opening round clash against Nicolas Almagro as he found his way back after being 3-0 down in the decider of his 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 win. Lopez tested him as well, but the Serb managed his way through to the quarter-final.
A semi-final berth, in which he is expected to face in-form Rafael Nadal, in his first tournament after parting ways with his coaching team will give him the much-needed boost ahead of Rome and Roland Garros, which he won last year.
Djokovic, who has beaten Nishikori in their last 10 meetings, including last year's Madrid semi-final, will fancy his chances to progress past the quarter-final as the Japanese player is still battling to hit peak form after recovering an elbow injury that kept him out of Barcelona last month.
On the other hand, Nishikori survived a stern test against Diego Schwartzman in the second round but he secured a comfortable, confidence-boosting win against Ferrer yesterday. However, he needs to be at his best if he is to get past Djokovic, who is looking to make amends in Madrid for what has been an ordinary season on the red dirt.