Novak Djokovic and Carlos Gomez-Herrera, the unlikely lads of the Marbella ATP grasscourt event, reached the semi-finals on Wednesday with the 355th-ranked player insisting it's a "dream" to play alongside the world number one.
Djokovic and Gomez-Herrera defeated top seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 10-8.
Djokovic, the 19-time Grand Slam winner who will be bidding for a sixth Wimbledon title next week, is a long-time friend of Gomez-Herrera.
But their careers have taken dramatically different paths.
Djokovic, who has been world number one for a record number of weeks and was the first man in over half a century to win all four Slams twice when he won the French Open, has earnings of almost $150 million.
The Serb has made over $4 million in 2021 alone.
Gomez-Herrera, 31, has banked just $16,000 this year and $163,000 in his career. His singles ranking is 355 and 258 in doubles.
"'Xarly' is a longtime friend. We've known each other for almost 15 years," said Djokovic.
"We are having a lot of fun on the court. This was a huge win for us, beating one of the best doubles players in the world after losing the first set."
Gomez-Herrera will be playing in his first semi-final when the pair meet Oliver Marach and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
He gave all the credit for Wednesday's win to Djokovic.
"He reached the semi-finals himself alone, because I didn't put a ball in the court for two sets," Gomez-Herrera told atptour.com.
"Luckily, thanks again for Novak being there, because for me it's like a dream. I'm awake, but I'm dreaming. He's by the court with me, and that means a lot to me."