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Nadal pulls out of Indian Wells before blockbuster semi-final versus Federer

Rafael Nadal of Spain answers questions after withdrawing due to injury from the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, on March 16, 2019. He withdrew shortly before his scheduled semifinal match against arch-rival Roger Federer of Switzerland. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

Rafael Nadal of Spain answers questions after withdrawing due to injury from the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, on March 16, 2019. He withdrew shortly before his scheduled semifinal match against arch-rival Roger Federer of Switzerland. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

EFE

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open ahead of his much-anticipated semi-final match Saturday against arch-rival Roger Federer , citing a right-knee injury that clearly bothered him in the previous round.

"@RafaelNadal has withdrawn from the tournament due to a right knee injury. We wish Rafa a speedy recovery. Roger Federer advances to the final by walkover.#BNPPO19,” tournament organizers said on Twitter.

“I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good to compete at the level I needed to compete in semifinals,” the Spanish great said in a news conference Saturday at this hard-court event in Indian Wells, California.

Nadal was in evident discomfort during his quarter-final match on Friday against Russia’s Karen Khachanov but dug deep to pull out a 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2) victory. The world No. 2 took a medical timeout early in the second set of that contest.

The fourth-ranked Federer, meanwhile, has followed up his title earlier this month in Dubai by cruising through the draw in the California desert, not having dropped a single set and losing his serve just once in four matches.

On Friday, he cruised to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in one hour and 13 minutes.

Saturday’s match would have been the 39th between the two all-time greats and their ninth consecutive contest on hard courts.

Although the Spaniard enjoys a 23-15 career edge, Federer has won the last five matches.

The arch-rivals are the greatest men’s tennis champions in terms of Grand Slam titles, with the 37-year-old Federer having won a record 20 and the 32-year-old Nadal having captured 17.

The Swiss great will now seek a record sixth Indian Wells title when he takes on either Canadian world No. 14 Milos Raonic or eighth-ranked Austrian Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s final.

The BNP Paribas Open is among a group of nine annual men’s tennis tournaments that rank just below the four Grand Slams and the year-end championship in terms of ranking points and prestige.

The top women’s players also have been in action over the past week and a half at this event.

In Sunday’s final, German three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, the world No. 8, will take on fast-rising Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu, who is ranked No. 60 and entered the tournament as a wildcard.


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