Medvedev sees off Nishikori in Barcelona to reach first claycourt final

Rafael Nadal said he could be "much happier" with his display

Rafael Nadal said he could be"much happier with his display

Thiem defeated Roger Federer in the Indian Wells final, and Rafael Nadal in the Barcelona semifinals to become the first player other than Novak Djokovic to defeat the Spaniard on clay four times.

The two had previously played a pair of ATP World Tour finals, with Medvedev winning to claim last year's Japan Open, and Nishikori returning the favor this past January to win the Brisbane International. "I was trying to be aggressive in the first set and then we engaged some longer rallies where I also had success but it wasn't enough in the end as he played on a high level".

Medvedev, 23, will now play the victor of the other semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem on Sunday, after avenging his Brisbane International final defeat by Nishikori in January.

"Things were positive even if I lost".

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Nadal's defeat comes just a week after he was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters where he is also an 11-time champion.

Thiem and Medvedev had played each other only once before, on the Russian's home ground and preferred surface, St Petersburg, where he won in a third-set tie-break. Today I was competitive and I enjoyed the match.

Nadal is now all set to meet 2017 finalist Thiem, who had a comfortable passage into the last-four of the tournament with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Argentina's Guido Pella.

Nadal had won his last 18 matches in Barcelona, and was 11-0 in the semifinals at the event. He has never faced Nadal, and has played Thiem just once, losing in a third-set tiebreaker in St. Petersburg past year.

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"I am getting better and better as the tournament goes on", Nadal said.

"I've got my confidence back again on clay". It was important for me to do well this week. "It's a big moment for me".

Medvedev, who shook some salt into his mouth during a third-set changeover just to spark his tiring muscles - apparently not for cramping - said his game remained in top gear despite falling behind a break to Nishikori. "So I would love to see him [be] No. 1", Nadal said. "I'm really happy that I managed to hold my nerves, to try to come back, and I managed to come back".

"It's his best surface, he's the best to ever play on it but if it's my best, I don't know". I'm feeling strong physically and mentally.

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"I'm very happy to win, this gives me big confidence and shows I can do a lot".

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