Andy Murray boosted his hopes of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals with a hard-fought win over Kevin Anderson at the Valencia Open.
The Briton won 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4 to reach the semi-finals, where he will face Spain's David Ferrer in a key contest in terms of ATP Finals places.
Top seed Ferrer beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-1 6-2 and will meet Murray for the third week in a row on Saturday.
The Spaniard is 10th in the Race to London, two places behind Murray.
"The match tomorrow will be an important match, as was last week and also in Shanghai," Murray told the ATP website.
"But even if I don't win the tournament this week, I will still have an opportunity in Paris if I play well there."
Four places remain on offer following the news that Nadal has ended his season to undergo surgery to remove his appendix.
Murray's situation improved when Canada's Milos Raonic, currently ninth in the standings, lost to David Goffin in the Basel quarter-finals.