Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will face off for the 39th time in their careers, with a spot in the final of Indian Wells at stake. Federer seeks his sixth title while Nadal is looking for his fourth, having not won since 2013. It’s a task that looks far more achievable for both, with no Novak Djokovic waiting on the other side. The winner plays either Milos Raonic or Dominic Thiem. Check out the Federer vs Nadal H2H stats.
Nadal had a dramatic win over Karen Khachanov, beating the Russian in two tiebreak sets. He would have to take a medical timeout for an issue related to his knees, something that clearly hindered him as the second set went on. He avoided a disaster by saving set point late in the set, something that could have been fatal for his chances. “I love to play on hard, but my body doesn’t love it that much… I am used to playing with some issues, so I just tried to be focused,” he said. “Of course, my goal is to be ready for tomorrow…I cannot guarantee how I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning.”
Federer’s Friday afternoon was pretty stress-free, beating Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets 6-4 6-4. A strong serving performance led the way for him, winning 84% on his first serve. He only needed a single break in each set to secure the victory while nullifying the two chances his opponent had in the second set. “At this stage of the tournament, you have to bring your best game,” Federer said. “I’m very excited to be in the semis here. Not that I didn’t expect it, but it definitely went better than I thought it would.”
Nadal has not beaten Federer since 2014 with five losses in a row since then, including one at Indian Wells. With question marks over Nadal’s fitness after the Khachanov win, it will be a major ask for him to end that streak on a surface that favours his opponent. Federer won’t be complacent despite the odds being in his favour. “He’s at a higher level than he was at the Australian Open… especially in a place like Indian Wells, where he feels comfortable, he’s clearly very tough to play.” he said.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets