Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet for the first time since 2017 in Indian Wells after the Spaniard defied more knee problems to defeat Karen Khachanov. This will be the pair's fifth FedEx ATP Head2Head clash, with each player winning two of their previous meetings. "It's one of these victories today I'm really proud of", Nadal told reporters, declining to absolutely guarantee that he would be okay to play on Saturday. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.
Federer is looking to follow up his 100th title in Dubai last month, and had come through his quarter-final with a straightforward 6-4 6-4 win over young Pole Hubert Hurkacz. "Roger was playing great in the crucial moments. It's about what it means for me to have to pull out in a tournament that I love so much like this one, and in the semi-finals after playing well during the whole tournament", Nadal said. "I can not guarantee how I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning". The World No. 8 had not lost a set before dropping the middle set against the Canadian. "I think we'll see interesting points tomorrow". "The spins bounce up high in the desert air and he is one of the fittest guys out there who can hit balls hard".
"The way we go about it is very different, yet we both find a way to excel", Federer said. Coincidentally, that was the most recent tournament at this level: the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters.
Andreescu became the first wild card to reach the Indian Wells final. That helped, of course, a lot.
"Another goal of mine was to make history, and I just did", she said, smiling.
But he added that cement-based hard courts, compared to clay and grass courts, do provide more of a pounding. "The biggest adjustment is the moving, that I can not slide around".
"It's always something special to play [Federer] and also something special to compete in a Masters 1000 final", Thiem said after his semifinal match.
The injury was devastating news for Nadal, whose run to the Australian Open final in January marked a return to competition for the first time since similar knee trouble forced him out of his US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro in September.