Nadal sets up Federer showdown in Indian Wells
Originally published on: 14/03/13 00:00
It is almost exactly 12 months since they last met, when Federer defeated Nadal in the semi-finals of the same event last year.
Nadal, who is playing his first hard court tournament since his return from a seven-month layoff with a knee injury, edged past the in-form Ernests Gulbis 4-6 6-4 7-5 to reach the last eight.
While the Spaniard has already won two titles, on the clay in Sao Paolo and Acapulco, since his return from injury, he does not believe he is ready to challenge Federer, who dug deep to defeat fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-7(4) 7-5 on Wednesday.
“Always to play against Roger is a pleasure,” Nadal said. “This match arrives early for me, too early to go to the match with the feeling that I can play equal conditions with him. I think I am not at that level today, but I'm going to try, as I do always.”
With Nadal currently ranked at world No.5, it will be the first time the pair will go head-to-head before the semi-finals of a regular ATP Tour event since 2004.
The winner will go on to meet either Tomas Berdych or Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals, while on the other half of the draw, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray remain on a collision course for the semi-finals.
World No. 1 Djokovic defeated home favourite Sam Querrey 6-0 7-6(6) to set up a quarter-final clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while Murray will meet Juan Martin Del Potro in the last eight after the Scot’s 7-6(4) 6-4 win over Carlos Berlocq.