INDIAN WELLS (California) (AFP) Defending champion Rafael Nadal, trying to reignite his injury-disrupted season, will face a rejuvenated Ivan Ljubicic in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000. Nadal looked sharp in overcoming Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) on Thursday, while Ljubicic gave himself an early birthday present with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Juan Monaco. In a tight match, Berdych gave Nadal the only opening he needed, double-faulting to fall behind 5-4 in the tiebreaker. Nadal gave himself a match point with a forehand winner, and when Berdych hit a backhand into the net the Spaniard leapt in celebration. I played aggressive when I had the chance, Nadal said of the tiebreaker, adding that there was little he could do as Berdych built a 3-1 as Nadal was playing into the wind. The Spaniard had managed to level the tiebreaker at 3-3 when they changed ends. Playing with the wind in that moment is almost decisive, and I played really well, Nadal said. I had one, two forehand winners down the line. That was the key of the match. Nadal, 23, is playing his first tournament since retiring with a knee injury while trailing Andy Murray in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Now the number three is the highest seed left in the draw after the early exits of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Very good news for me to be in semi-finals, said Nadal. I am really happy how I am playing. Coming back from an injury, its never easy the first tournament. In Ljubicic, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Friday, Nadal will face a player he has beaten in five of six prior encounters. The Croatian, a former world number three who is now ranked 26th, showed no sign of a letdown as he rallied to beat Monaco a day after toppling world number two Djokovic. Ljubicic fired 11 aces and finished off the match with three service winners. But it was his all-around game he was most pleased with. I really played some great tennis, and I felt really creative out there, Ljubicic said. I played all different shots: lobs, dropshots, volleys, winners, slices. I felt I could hit the ball anywhere. He said his form recalled that of 2005-06, when he reached his highest ranking and felt almost unbeatable. I feel like Im ready to win big ones, and Im ready to beat anybody, said Ljubicic, whose last semi-final appearance on the ATP Tour was at Lyon in October, when he went on to win his ninth career title. Its good, Ljubicic said. I got a phone call from my brother just after the match. He said that Croatian time zone I finish just a couple seconds before birthday, so its fantastic. In womens action, sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovic booked a semi-final berth with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Russian Alisa Kleybanova. In Fridays semi-finals, Jankovic will face eighth-seeded Samantha Stosur, who beat Spains Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-3, 7-6 (9/7). The other semi-final will pit second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki against fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska. The reamining two mens quarter-finals will also be played Friday, when fourth-seeded Briton Andy Murray takes on Robin Soderling, the sixth seed from Sweden, and seventh-seeded American Andy Roddick takes on Tommy Robredo.