Montreal: Novak Djokovic had to fight off an upset bid from qualifier Ernests Gulbis, defeating the Latvian 5-7, 7-6 (9/7), 6-1 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Montreal Masters.

Rafael Nadal

But Rafael Nadal, like Djokovic a former champion at the event, was unable to escape an on-form Kei Nishikori as the fourth seed sent out the Spaniard 6-2, 6-4 thanks in part to six double-faults from Nadal.

The red-hot Nishikori is riding a wave of momentum from his hardcourt title last week in Washington and will next face second seed Andy Murray who beat French 10th-seeded holder Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 and took revenge for a semi-final loss a year ago in Canada.