Rafael Nadalis set to face one of his biggest rivals…
The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star has advanced to the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open after defeating Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2), 7-6.
Nadal’s victory sets up his 39th career meeting with Roger Federer, their first meeting in 16 months.
Neither Federer nor Nadal has dropped a set in four matches in the desert. Federer has been broken just once, and Nadal has dropped serve three times, twice against Khachanov.
Nadal stands in the way of Federer’s pursuit of a record sixth title at Indian Wells.
Nadal’s right knee flared up for the first time during the tournament in the second set. He called for a trainer, who applied tape just below the knee. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.
“My goal and my idea is be ready for tomorrow,” said Nadal, who holds a 23-15 edge in his rivalry with Federer. “I cannot guarantee how I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning.”
Knee problems have dogged Nadal in recent years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the US Openin September.
“I love to play on hard [courts], but probably my body doesn’t love it that much,” Nadal said. “As I say before, is not only about today, is about tomorrow. Maybe we’re going to pay the price at the age of 45 or something. That will be not nice. When I see some old legends walking around the tour, is tough to see.”