Washington, Mar 15: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Swiss mogul Roger Federer set up a dream semifinal after beating respective opponents in the quarterfinals at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.
Second seed Nadal dug deep to save a set point in the second set and prevailed in a high-quality quarterfinal over 12th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 7-6(2), 7-6(2) while fourth seed Federer defeated Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4 in an earlier match. "It's not every day you get to play a quarterfinal in Indian Wells, so I just tried to be focused and give my best," said Nadal. "I'm just happy to be in the semifinals. It's a beautiful thing for me and I'm happy with the way I have played the whole event."
Nadal will face Federer on Saturday and the Spaniard leads their head-to-head series 23-15, but Federer has won two of their three clashes at the BNP Paribas Open. The Swiss also leads their hard-court rivalry 11-9 and has won their past five matches on this surface.
"It's different styles, different ways to understand the sport, and at the same time, two players with a good relationship after all the things that we went through in our careers and competing for the most important things," said Nadal. "All these things always make the matches really special between us. It's beautiful to have the chance to keep competing at the highest level in advanced rounds, in the most important events, at this late part of our tennis careers."
Federer said: "At this stage of the tournament, you have to bring your best game. 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."