Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to clash in Indian Wells semi-final

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Karen Khachanov of Russia during the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells California

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal reach semis showdown: Enjoy it while you can

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.

The multiple Grand Slam champions both won their quarter-finals on Friday, although Nadal in particular had to work hard to overcome Russian Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2) 7-6 (2) in a match during which he required treatment on the knee. "Of course it's a special match".

Federer trails Nadal in their head-to-head series, 23-15, but he's won their last five meetings and that adds a nice twist to the tale.

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"Not that I didn't expect it, but it definitely went better than I thought it would".

It was the first match between the pair and far from one-sided, as Hurkacz had two break points but could seize neither. "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.

Federer said he might not feel quite the same tingle of anticipation as fans at the prospect of facing Nadal, but he acknowledged that their clashes always raise the stakes. He's at a higher level than he was at the Australian Open. "I can not guarantee how I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning".

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