Japan's world No. 7 Kei Nishikori advanced to his first ATP World Tour semifinal in over two months on Friday, when he defeated Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena at the Barcelona Open.
Nishikori, the fourth seed, came to Barcelona on a three-match losing streak. A two-time champion here with titles in 2014 and 2015, Nishikori had little trouble in a 6-4, 7-5 victory.
The 26-year-old Carballes Baena, who prefers clay and trains in Barcelona, is ranked 104th in the world. Nishikori, 29, broke serve in the first game, and won the only service break in the second set when he went up 6-5 before serving for the win.
"He kept playing more incredible shots. I just couldn't get a break point in the second set," Nishikori said. "But with it looking like things were starting to go his way, I was really able to really concentrate on my playing at the end."
In the semifinals, Nishikori will meet 14th-ranked Russian Daniil Medvedev, who won his quarterfinal over Chile's Nicolas Jarry 6-3, 6-4 in a brisk 1 hour, 26 minutes. Nishikori is 2-1 in his career against Medvedev. They have played two finals, with Medvedev winning last year's Japan Open and Nishikori returning the favor this January in Brisbane, Australia.