Monte Carlo - Rafael Nadal had to battle to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th time on Friday as he beat Guido Pella of Argentina 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.
A marathon opening set with eight breaks of serve took one hour, 20 minutes before Nadal won it in a tiebreaker.
He served for victory leading 5-2 in the second set only to drop serve again, but recovered to take the win as Pella double-faulted.
The 11-time champion has not lost at the tournament since a 2015 semi-final defeat against Novak Djokovic and he now stands 71-4 at the event.
He will face either Croatia's Borna Coric or Fabio Fognini of Italy for a place in the final.