2019 Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open Semi-finals: Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal, Preview and Prediction
From the moment the 2019 BNP Paribas draw was announced, a potential Federer-Nadal semi-final clash was on the cards. And so it has come to pass finally, to the delight of millions of tennis fans worldwide.
The two greatest modern day tennis players, will face each other for the 39th time. The Spaniard leads their head to record 23-15, but it is the Swiss maestro who has won their last five matches, dating back to 2015. What is interesting to note is that before Federer embarked on this winning streak, Nadal too had won five matches on a trot against him!
Will Nadal break Federer’s recent stranglehold on him, or will the latter continue to chip away at the deficit in their still-skewed head-to-head record? For an informed guess on the same, one has to consider a few things.
Firstly, the nature of the court. Nadal, the king of clay, is certainly no pushover on hard court, as is exemplified by his multiple hard court slam and Masters 1000 titles, including three at Indian Wells. However, Federer is certainly a more accomplished player than him on the hard courts. That gives Federer the edge here.
Secondly, one has to look at their recent form. Nadal began the year with a bang after a long injury layoff, when he reached the Australian Open final without dropping a set. Though he lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the summit clash, he had proved once again how good a player he was on hard courts.
After a shock defeat to Nick Kyrgios at Acapulco, Nadal has looked in pristine form at the Indian Wells. He faced his toughest challenge yet in the quarter final against Karen Khachanov. He was taken to two tie-breaks in a keenly contested match, where he struggled to assert himself on the opponent.
He seemed bothered by some niggles with his right knee. It remains to be seen whether he will be fully fit to take on his great rival in the semi-final clash.
Nadal will need to be at his absolute best to challenge Federer, because the latter is back playing some of his best tennis after a surprise fourth round loss at the Australian Open. He won his hundredth ATP title at Dubai and has not lost a set in Indian Wells so far.
And unlike Nadal, his quarter final clash against Hubert Hurkacz was a rather straight forward affair. He broke the big-serving young Pole twice, once in each set and served well to not be broken once. His first serve win percentage was in high eighties, and even his second serve win percentage was at an impressive 64%.
At the moment, a confident Federer seems set to make it a sixth win in a row against his greatest rival.
Prediction: Roger Federer to win in 3 Sets