Rafael Nadal beat a top-10 player for the first time this year as he saw off Kei Nishikori to reach the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals in Indian Wells.
Fourth seed Nadal, the champion in 2007, 2009 and 2013, won 6-4 6-3 against Japan’s world number seven.
The Spaniard will face world number one Novak Djokovic, who beat seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-2).
“I beat a top-10 player and that is something that is important for my confidence,” said Nadal, 29.
“I feel I am strong mentally and I have the right energy. I am able to fight for every ball and I now believe in myself the whole match.”
Four-time champion Djokovic was pushed hard by Tsonga but the Serb proved stronger in the tie-breaks, taking his record for 2016 to 20 wins and one defeat.
Nadal and Djokovic have played each other 47 times, with the world number one 24-23 ahead.
Canada’s Milos Raonic will take on Belgian David Goffin in the other semi-final.