Federer-Nadal didn't happen, but don't sleep on Federer-Thiem

Federer breezes into Indian Wells semis

Moments before the first semifinal of the day, which No. 7 Dominic Thiem won 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 6-4 over heavy-hitting Canadian Milos Raonic, Rafael Nadal announced he was withdrawing from the tournament with a right knee injury.

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.

The Spaniard admitted he may not be able to compete against Roger Federer on Saturday: "I love to play on hard, but my body doesn't love it that much..."

Nadal and Federer, who have 37 Grand Slam titles between them, have not played each another since 2017. Seventh-seeded Thiem has done well here after recovering from an illness that slowed him early this year; he hadn't won a set from Raonic in two previous matchups but was almost flawless in the first set Saturday and he earned the only service break of the match at 3-2 in the third set. "It's a special rivalry, maybe the most special with Rafa and Novak (Djokovic)". "I know the anticipation is there from the crowd and also us players".

"It's not going to be easy", said Thiem, who has split four prior meetings with Federer 2-2. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.

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"It was an wonderful day", said Thiem, who will be playing in his third Masters 1,000 final.

"It was so many emotions going through my head", she said. "So was this our chance at a last one - I hope not and I believe at the level he's playing and the level I'm still going there's definitely going to be more".

He had ankle surgery in November, and only returned to training in December. "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".

"It's not about only during the tennis careers that I am anxious", he said.

"You look back at what I did well there, but you can't just copy-paste and play exactly the same thing again", Federer said.

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