Nishikori, Ferrer into Barcelona SFs

Barcelona, Spain ( - Top seed and defending champion Kei Nishikori and four-time runner-up David Ferrer of Spain secured berths in Saturday's semifinals at the $2.1 million Barcelona Open tennis event.

The 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Nishikori got past seventh-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 on the red clay at Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.

"I'm really happy with the way I'm playing right now, especially in the third set," said Nishikori. "It was a really tough match."

The Japanese star beat Colombian Santiago Giraldo in last year's Barcelona final and also topped the South American in a third-round match here on Thursday.

Nishikori's semifinal opponent will be 14th-seeded Slovak and recent Casablanca champion Martin Klizan, who dismissed ninth-seeded long-time Spanish favorite Tommy Robredo 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 on Day 5. Robredo titled here in 2004 and was the Barcelona runner-up in 2006.

Meanwhile, a third-seeded Ferrer handled 12th-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).

Ferrer reached finals here in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, losing to his stalwart fellow countryman Rafael Nadal each time.

Ferrer's semifinal opponent will be fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar, who tackled 13th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-3. Fognini shocked Nadal here on Thursday.

This week's champ will collect $495,000.