Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are set to face off in the Men's singles semi-final of 2017 Madrid Open on Saturday, which will also be their 50th career meeting.
Nadal, the four-time Madrid Open champion, stormed into the semi-final after decimating ninth seed David Goffin 7-6, 6-2 in his quarter-final outing. On the other hand, Djokovic benefitted from his last-eight opponent Kei Nishikori's injury as the Japanese top-ranked player withdrew from the tie yesterday.
Djokovic leads 26-23 in head-to-head meetings over Nadal and the Serb has beaten the Spaniard on the red dirt seven times in their last 10 meetings, including their quarter-final meeting at last year's Rome Masters.
It was Djokovic, who had dominated on the clay last year as he went on to win the Roland Garros title. However, the tables have turned this season as Nadal has looked unstoppable on his favourite surface, winning his 10th title at Monte Carlo Masters last month and followed it up with another crown in Barcelona.
However, Saturday's match will prove to be one of his biggest tests of the season on the red dirt as is facing a top-five opponent for the first time. While recent form favours Nadal, the Spaniard's record against Djokovic is a cause of concern, which he must look to put behind when he steps on the court later today.
On the other hand, Djokovic has not had the best of starts to the season as he is yet to reach the final of a tournament after his title-winning run at Doha. However, after parting ways with his coaching team, the world number two has looked rejuvenated and determined to hit peak form.
Having not produced convincing wins so far in Madrid, Djokovic will be looking for the big scalp to get his season back on track ahead of his title defence at the French Open. The Serb, with his lethal backhand that has always troubled Nadal, has it in him to stop the King of Clay from reigning supreme today.