Federer breezes into Indian Wells semis

Federer breezes into Indian Wells semis

A somber Nadal announced his withdrawal a couple hours before he was scheduled to take the court at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

"I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good to compete at the level I needed to compete in semi-final", Spain's Nadal said in a statement.

Nadal remains without a title since Toronto in August a year ago and a win over Federer since the Australian Open in 2017 but with a four-week break he will re-emerge for the clay-court season in Monte Carlo before yet another French Open at Roland Garros.

"If I don't see this match as special it's because I don't love this sport and I don't appreciate the story of this sport", Nadal said after reaching the semi-final showdown with a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2) victory over Karen Khachanov.

Federer, 37 and bidding for his 101st career title, received a walkover into the final, where he will play Dominic Thiem, a 7-6 (3) 6-7 (3) 6-4 victor over Milos Raonic in Saturday's only semi-final. He twice called for a trainer, who applied tape just below Nadal's knee. When he was coming up, I was world No 1 and he was 17.

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"Probably it's more than 1,100 matches on tour, more than any surface", the 32-year-old Spaniard said.

He admitted that he sometimes is sad because he feels at a disadvantage against his opponents due to his continued knee issues that force him to limit his practice and playing time. "With all this stuff, I still where I am today".

While Nadal said he feels knee pain "almost always", in the face of this latest setback he insisted: "My goal doesn't change".

And the 20-time Grand Slam victor admitted he was disappointed when Nadal text him the news.

The match will mark the 39th time the two legends play one another, but it'll be their first meeting since Shanghai 2017.

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