Murray and Nadal remain on collision course

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Top seeds Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal remain on course for a final showdown at the Barcelona Open.

Both players advanced to the semi-finals on Friday, although Murray had to work much harder for his victory than Nadal did.

Up against Albert Ramos-Vinolas, the Scot dropped two early service games to find himself a set down in no time.

But the world's top ranked player rallied. He leveled the scores with a single break of serve in the second set, and then twice battled back from a break down in the third before edging the contest in a tie-break.

He would ultimately dig deep to claim a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory after three hours on court.

"It was obviously a very tough match," said Murray. "It was kind of the opposite of the match we had last week where probably today he deserved to win. He created a lot more chances, he served for the match and couldn't quite get it.

"Last week I had 4-0 [in the third set], I felt like I had all of the chances. Sometimes on clay matches happen this way, so very happy to get through."

Nadal, meanwhile, was also tested by Korean qualifier Hyeon Chung – particularly in the first set – but once he edged the tie-break it was pretty smooth sailing from there.

Chung showed plenty of promise against the Spaniard. He came into the match having not lost a set in five matches, and his aggressive style of play seemed to pay off as he broke early for a 3-1 lead.

But Nadal eventually got the better of his opponent, who started to wilt under the pressure, and he joined Murray in the last four courtesy of a 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 win.

All of Friday's results in Barcelona

Horacio Zeballos (Argentina) beat Karen Khachanov (Russia) 6-4 6-1  
Rafa Nadal (Spain) beat Chung Hyeon (South Korea) 7-6(1) 6-2      
Andy Murray (Britain) beat Albert Ramos (Spain) 2-6 6-4 7-6(4) 
Dominic Thiem (Austria) beat Yuichi Sugita (Japan) 6-1 6-2