Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal withdraws from Roger Federer semi-final

Aubrey Yates
March 16, 2019

Tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play out the 39th episode of their legendary rivalry in California as they meet in the semi finals of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday - their first meeting on court since 2017.

Federer, who can break out of a tie with Novak Djokovic with a record sixth title in the California desert, is on a collision course with three-time champion Nadal, who took on Russian Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals.

Hurkacz's nerves in his first meeting with Federer showed when he whiffed on a second-serve return on the Swiss great's first service point of the match. "But it always brings extra energy into the stadium and for the both of us".

Nadal now leads 23-15 in their head-to-head, but Federer has won the last five of their meetings. "The way he came up was very clay-court based, and I was apparently very grass-court based, and we both found our ways also on the other surface", Federer said.

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Nadal, too, says the contrast in styles, coupled with the pair's sheer longevity, makes every meeting something to treasure.

However, Federer and Nadal got to this appointment in a completely different state.

"It's tough for me to accept all these things that I'm going through in my career". Nadal said he hoped to be ready to battle again with Federer, but with a pragmatism born of hard experience he couldn't help but hedge.

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