A finalist in Madrid in 2014, Nishikori had lost the last 10 matches against Djokovic, including in the semi-finals in Madrid previous year. Right from the start I made very few errors, said the Spaniard.
Djokovic, the defending champion, advanced when Kei Nishikori withdrew before their quarterfinal because of a wrist injury. The third-seeded Halep, who also lost the 2014 final to Maria Sharapova, will play to keep her title against eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russian Federation or Kristina Mladenovic of France.
Nadal edged a bruising first set after blowing eight break points with a top-class tiebreak, playing adventurous shots which sapped Goffin's energy and the world number 10 ceded the final point with a double fault.
Goffin, who has 27 victories, was trying to make it to his third final this season.
Nadal finally broke in the third game of the second set before having to stave off four break points on his own serve to consolidate his lead at 3-1.
Nadal is now 13-0 on clay this year as he swept aside Belgian ninth seed David Goffin 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 much to the delight a boisterous home crowd under the roof on the Manolo Santana centre court.
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Argentina's Pablo Cuevas also booked his place in the last four with a 3-6 6-0 6-4 win over Alexander Zverev of Germany.
Halep with face in-form Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic or Svetlana Kuznetsova in Saturday's final. Cuevas won one of the points of the tournament with a no-look victor with his back to the court after a lob shot by Zverev early in the second set.
'I don't want to go too hard on my wrist, ' the Japanese player said.
He will face the victor of the late night match between number 8 seed Dominic Thiem and Borna Coric, who knocked number one seed, Andy Murray out earlier in the week. "I want to wait and see what happens".
On the other hand, Djokovic has not had the best of starts to the season as he is yet to reach the final of a tournament after his title-winning run at Doha. After relinquishing the World No. 1 ranking to Andy Murray in November, Djokovic suffered a shocking second-round defeat at the Australian Open to Denis Istomin followed by consecutive losses to Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco and Indian Wells. He also withdrew from the Barcelona Open last month because of the lingering wrist inflammation.
Nishikori said he will try to recover in time to play in Rome next week and then in the French Open at the end of the month.
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