Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal withdraws from Roger Federer semi-final

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A 39th showdown between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will have to wait.

The Spanish superstar, who has battled knee tendinitis and other injuries throughout his career, made it through a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2) win over Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals on Friday. He twice called for a trainer, who applied tape just below Nadal's knee.

It's the maiden Masters 1000 final for the new generation tennis player, Dominic Thiem and the skyscraper Canadian slammed 17 aces on Thiem's court, but however, Dominic Thiem led by a break of serve in the deciding set of the semifinals at the Indian Wells 2019.

He also says he won't play again until the Monte-Carlo Masters clay event in mid-April.

It means Federer is into a third successive Indian Wells final and having been beaten by Juan Martin del Potro in a thriller last year, he will hope to claim his sixth title in the Californian desert, two years after his last which came after victory over Stan Wawrinka.

Their rivalry stretches back 15 years, and Federer couldn't help wondering how many more chances they might have.

"It is not about only today", Nadal said in an emotional press conference after announcing his decision.

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Federer was warming up on another court at the same time as Nadal and figured the match was on.

Fourth-seeded Federer received a walkover into the decider as Nadal pulled out shortly before their eagerly-awaited semi-final.

"It was an fantastic day", said Thiem, who will be playing in his third Masters 1,000 final. His career record against Thiem is 2-2, with Federer winning both of their meetings on hard courts.

Knee problems have dogged Nadal for years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the U.S. Open in September. [Nadal] played so well this week and I thought he was playing some of his best tennis again.

"It's always something special to play him", he said. "But I warmed up this morning and felt that my knee wasn't good enough to compete at the needed level".

"My goal is to play on all the surfaces", he said.

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