Rafael Nadal continued his impressive comeback as he booked his place in the final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Tomas Berdych.
Nadal improved to 16-1 since his return from a seven-month lay-off due to his troublesome knee injury as he passed another big test in California after beating Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.
Big-hitting Berdych was in his way this time around, and Nadal was given a thorough workout on the hard courts before he eventually emerged with a straight sets win after an hour and 43 minutes of action.
A single break of serve was enough for the Spaniard in the first set, but Berdych broke in the second to make a much bigger fight of it and force Nadal to bring out his famed fighting spirit.
Fifth seed Nadal did just that though as he dug deep to break back and then see off three Berdych break points in a tense final game to claim his place in the final.
"For me, it's completely unexpected," Nadal said. "To be in the final it's a big surprise but I'm here and I'm very, very happy."
"I played my best game of the match in the 5-3, playing very aggressive, having two very, very good points with my forehand down the line.
"Especially after having the break and the game with double fault, to be able to forget that and be able to be focused on the next game, on the first point of the next game, and finally do the right things to be back on the serve was decisive.
"Today I was very nervous at the end of the match. I was lucky that my serve worked amazing in the last game in important moments.
"There are some things that you need to adjust, and victories like today help you a lot for the confidence and to remember all the things that you have to do in every moment."