Rafael Nadal and soon-to-be world number one Daniil Medvedev will face off for a second time in less than a month at the Telcel Mexico Open semifinal on Friday. The Spaniard booked his place in the last four with a 6-0, 7-6 win over American Tommy Paul, while the Russian overcame Yoshihito Nishioka with a routine 6-2, 6-3 win.

Medvedev will overtake Novak Djokovic to become the world's top ranked men's singles player after the Serbian star suffered a shock defeat to Jere Vesely at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship. Djokovic had to make it to at least the semifinals to have a chance to continue at the top, but fell in the last eight to the 123-ranked Czech Republic player.

Nadal overcame Medvedev at the Australian Open final, coming back from two sets down to record an inspiring victory. The Spaniard will be hoping for a second victory over the 2021 US Open champion, but accepts that he will have to play at his "highest level" to have a chance to overcome the lanky Russian.

"Everybody knows how difficult it is to play against Daniil. I know I have to play at my highest level if I want to have any chance, and that's what I'm going to try. I have to play my game," Nadal said after his win over Paul, as quoted on the ATP Tour's official site.

Rafael Nadal
Spain's Rafael Nadal (L) shakes hands with Russia's Daniil Medvedev after winning the men's singles final match on day fourteen of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne early on January 31, 2022. William WEST/AFP

"Everybody knows how difficult the final was in Australia. Tomorrow is going to be another battle. I know he's playing well, plenty of confidence... I am excited to play that match."

Meanwhile, Djokovic, who will hand over his number one spot to Medvedev, kept his promise about being one of the first to congratulate his close friend. The Serb made the promise prior to the start of his Dubai Duty Free Championships campaign when he was asked about potentially losing his number one ranking to the Russian.

"Congratulations also to a very deserving Daniil Medvedev, who will now become world number 1," Djokovic wrote on Twitter after first congratulating Vesely on his win.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are on collision course in the French Open Thomas SAMSON/AFP