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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Semifinal Against Roger Federer

Category: Other Sports,Sports

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Rafael Nadal withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, done in once again by a knee injury.

He had been set to play his longtime rival, Roger Federer, in the semifinals. A somber Nadal announced his withdrawal a couple of hours before he was scheduled to take the court.

“I warm up today in the morning, and I felt that my knee was not enough good to compete at the level that I need to compete,” he said.

Nadal’s right knee flared up in the second set of his 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) victory over Karen Khachanov in Friday’s quarterfinals. He twice called for a trainer, who applied tape just below Nadal’s knee. It was obvious that Nadal’s movement was hampered.

Nadal said he would not play again until the Monte-Carlo Masters on clay in mid-April. “I don’t have doubts today that I will be ready for Monte Carlo,” he said.

Knee problems have dogged Nadal, a 32-year-old Spaniard, for years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the United States Open in September. He was forced to quit two sets into his semifinal against Juan Martín del Potro.

The year began promisingly enough. Nadal did not drop a set in reaching his fifth Australian Open final, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

“Still tough because I felt more or less O.K. 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.”

Even with all of his injuries, Nadal indicated he had no intention of giving up playing on hardcourts, the surface for two of the four Grand Slam events.

“My goal is to play on all the surfaces,” he said.

It would have been the 39th career meeting between Nadal and Federer, who advances to Sunday’s final in pursuit of a record sixth title at Indian Wells. Federer will play either Milos Raonic or Dominic Thiem, whose semifinal was underway when Nadal was talking to reporters.

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