Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic set up Madrid Open semifinal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-1 6-4 7-5 during a Madrid Open tennis tournament match in Madrid Spain Wednesday

The Briton, who was thrashed 6-3, 6-1 by the Croatian in the Dubai Championships in 2015, performed poorly in the first set and after recovering in the second he then surrendered his serve in the seventh game, giving Coric three break points.

In his first match since changing his coaching team in an attempt to change fortunes following a hard start to the year, Djokovic was taken to three sets by Spain's Nicolas Almagro in a match which lasted for two and a quarter hours. I don't know. But I try to see every day. "That pumped me up obviously".

He was forced to play down suggestions that former world number one Andre Agassi is in line to assist Djokovic on a full-time basis ahead of the French Open.

And after a blistering start, Djokovic had to battle back from 3-0 down in the deciding set to book his place in the last 16 on Thursday against Feliciano Lopez, who beat Gilles Simon 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/3).

David Goffin awaits the victor of Nadal's clash with Kyrgios as the Belgian beat world number six Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-2.

The wrist is still not 100% and he did not want to risk it.

For that Nadal-Kyrgios contest proved to be a one-sided affair, 6-3, 6-1, with the younger man undoubtedly affected by the time spent away from court in recent weeks following a family bereavement.

Still No 2 in the world rankings, Djokovic has not gone beyond the quarter-final of any tournament since his Doha triumph in the opening week of the season.

The Spaniard, who has never gone beyond the quarter-finals in a grand slam, grew in confidence in the second set, however, with the backing of the home support on the Manolo Santana court and saved two break points before forcing a decider.

The Madrid Open started their rivalry, with the Spanish crowd witnessing an engrossing semi-final in 2009 lasting over four hours which Nadal won after saving three match points.

Nadal, though, edged their only previous meeting on clay at the Rome Masters a year ago.

(AP Photo/Paul White). CORRECTING SCORES: Novak Djokovic of Serbia sits between games during a Madrid Open tennis tournament match against to Nicolas Almagro of Spain in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

"Four consecutive games lost in this level should not happen because otherwise you're going to lose the match", added Djokovic.

"We have taken plenty of titles from each other The reality is that it's been a really good era because the matches between Djokovic, (Roger) Federer and me. we've made it many times to the final rounds, competing in the most important tournaments".

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