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It's on! - Greats Federer and Nadal primed for 1st meeting since 2017 at Indian Wells

It's on! - Greats Federer and Nadal primed for 1st meeting since 2017 at Indian Wells
Tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play out the 39th episode of their legendary rivalry in California as they meet in the semi finals of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday - their first meeting on court since 2017.

The pair have 37 men's Grand Slam title wins between them, 17 for Nadal and 20 for Federer - the latter being a record in the sport - and have contested one of the most enthralling on court rivalries ever seen, often on the biggest stages and sharing mammoth reigns as world number one.

Both came through their respective quarter final matches yesterday to ensure the semi final scrap, with Spaniard Nadal eventually making his way past Russian tournament 12th seed Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2) in an extremely close match, and Federer beat unseeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz. 

Nadal currently leads 23-15 in their head-to-head, but Federer has won the last five of their meetings.

However, their latest match could be in jeopardy, should Nadal not recover from a knee injury in time. The current world number two said he hopes to meet the Swiss great for the first time since the Shanghai Masters in October 2017.

"I will try my best to recover - these are the matches I want to play," the 32-year-old said, BBC Sport reported. "To play against my biggest rival at the later stages of our careers and to keep competing against each other is great."

Federer, who at 37 is the oldest BNP Paribas semi-finalist in history, doesn't believe the results of previous meetings count for all that much. 

"I don't think those matches matter that much, to be honest," Federer, who is yet to drop a set at the tournament. 

"A lot of time has gone by, unfortunately maybe for the rivalry, for us, or for me. It's always better to keep on playing against him.

"The fans are maybe more excited about us playing than me as I've always got to be focused on my own game. But it always brings extra energy into the stadium and for the both of us."

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