Rafael Nadal
The two-time champion is favourite to win Friday's semi-final Reuters

Second seed Rafael Nadal takes on third seed Marin Cilic in the first semi-final of the ongoing Mexican Open at Acapulco on Friday (Saturday morning, Singapore time).

The two-time champion edged past qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarter-final 7-6 (2), 6-3 to book his place in the last-four stages while Cilic progressed in the tournament after his quarter-final opponent Steve Johnson retired even without a ball being hit.

Nadal, with yesterday's win took his tournament record to 13-0. The Spaniard, who won the titles in 2005 and 2013 on clay, has not dropped even a set so far in his stints and looks set to extend his domination with a maiden title on Acapulco's hard courts.

Since coming back from an injury-layoff at Brisbane, Nadal has looked sharp and has been able to fend away tricky opponents in long battles. The world number six beat the odds and edged past in-form players, including Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov to set up a final clash with Roger Federer at the Australian Open and has continued his form in the ongoing tournament as well.

Nadal has a 3-1 head-to-head record over Cilic with their latest meeting - Basel quarter-final in 2015 - ending in the former's favour. The Croatian star, who had a breakthrough year in 2016, has not been able to impress in the ongoing season with early exits in Chennai, Melbourne, Montpellier and Rotterdam, in which he bowed out in the quarter-final following loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Given Nadal's recent form, all eyes will be on his perfect Acapulco record and Cilic's chances of advancing to his first final of the season looks bleak as well.

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