Britain's Andy Murray seems to be gaining value from his new partnership with Jonas Bjorkman, judging by his results over the last few weeks. He has built on the success of his title in Munich by progressing through to the semi-finals of the Masters' event in Madrid this week. The world number three seed defeated Canada's Milos Raonic in straight sets yesterday, setting up a mouth-watering encounter with Kei Nishikori in the last-four. Rafael Nadal continued to show shines of a return to top form on his favourite surface, as he too clinched a semi-final place in the other half of the men's draw.

Raonic injury concerns

Raonic was expected to present Murray with his toughest challenge of the tournament so far. The Canadian was hampered throughout the match by a problem with his right foot though, a trapped nerve seemingly being the diagnosis. The Scot still had to find a way of breaking his booming serve, which often proves sufficient to keep him competitive in tight matches.

Murray will have been happy enough with his 6-4 7-5 victory then, a professional 'day at the office' as he broke Raonic's serve once in each set. There were signs of the injury concern for his opponent from the start of the match. That was perhaps not so surprising given that he was forced to withdraw from the Monte Carlo event last month with the same ailment.

He had however 'managed' the injury up to the quarter-final stage, so could not be completely discounted in the contest.

With a 2-3 record against the Canadian prior to their Spanish meeting, Murray may have been slightly wary of how much of an issue the injury concern was. He would have remembered that Novak Djokovic was apparently struggling in a recent match against him, yet recovered to take the victory.

Murray clearly noticed the perceived lack of mobility in his rival though, as he utilised his drop shot successfully during the match.

Nishikori next for Murray

Next on the agenda for the Brit will be Japan's Nishikori. The rising Asian star, seeded four for the event, won surprisingly comfortably against Spanish veteran David Ferrer 6-4 6-2.

Last year's US Open runner-up has been in commanding form on clay so far this season. He successfully retained his title in Barcelona recently and has only dropped one set so far in his progress to the semis in Madrid. Murray leads their personal head to head 3-1, but they have never previously faced each other on clay on the tour. The Brit will be out to avenge his defeat at the end of year World Tour Finals and to re-establish his dominance over Nishikori in the process.

Nadal a likely finalist?

Whoever wins that battle could well have to face Nadal in the final. He cruised through to the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Nadal may benefit from the exertions of his last-four opponent Tomas Berdych in his match yesterday.

The expected battle of the big servers remained close throughout, before the Czech player edged out America's John Isner 3-6 7-6 7-6.

The semi-finalists in Madrid were confirmed as:

Berdych v Nadal

Nishikori v Murray