Roger Federer will win Indian Wells title - Rusedski

Spain's Rafael Nadal receives treatment during his quarter-final victory over Karen Khachanov at the ATP Indian Wells Masters. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA  AFP  Sean M. Haffey

After a year and a half, the tennis fans had the chances to see another chapter of the fantastic rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after both tennis legends managed to qualify for the semifinal in Indian Wells.

Nadal's knee appeared to flare up in his quarter-final win over Khachanov on Friday, where he twice received treatment from his trainer, with the Spaniard stressing after the match he would need to assess the injury ahead of the match on Saturday.

World No 2 Nadal took a 5-0 record over the Russian into their match and if the Spaniard extends that dominance it will set up the 39th meeting between him and Federer - their fourth at Indian Wells.

That meant the pair's wait to go head-to-head will continue, having not shared the court on the ATP Tour since October 2017 in the final of the Shanghai Masters.

"I don't have doubts today that I will be ready for Monte Carlo", he said. "What I'm gonna do is go home and try to smoothly transition to clay and be 100 percent for the first event in Monte Carlo".

Knee problems have dogged the 32-year-old for years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the US Open in September, when he was forced to quit two sets into his semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro.

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It was just the fifth time in Nadal's career that he had conceded a walkover, and the first to Federer. I accept the situation even if today is a sad moment for me.

The year began promisingly enough.

"Still tough because I felt more or less OK during this beginning of the season in terms of my knee", he said. "Now it starts the process that I have to decide what direction we have to take to recover well and to recover as soon as possible".

While Federer floated into Sunday's Indian Wells men's final (ESPN2, following women's final at 4 p.m. ET) without dropping a set all tournament, his two greatest rivals sputtered.

"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. It's one of the most handsome centre courts that we have in the world, it would have been very special.

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