Knee injury forces Rafael Nadal to withdrawal from Indian Wells semifinal

Elena Summers
March 20, 2019

"There are very few players who have won Masters series during the period of the big four, especially beating Roger Federer in the final".

It meant Federer could turn up fresh for the final against Dominic Thiem. But, for the most part, the deciding factor was Thiem's fearlessness in the big moments, not a Federer implosion.

"Just came up against somebody who was on the day a bit better when it really mattered", Federer said.

Nadal leads their rivalry 23-15, but Federer has won five straight, most recently in the final of the Shanghai Masters in 2017.

Federer cruised through the first set in 36 minutes, breaking Thiem twice.

In the deciding set, momentum swung in Thiem's favour when he smacked a forehand victor down the line to break Federer and take a 6-5 lead. He was beaten in a third-set tiebreaker by Juan Martin del Potro in 2018.

Notably, Federer too was unhappy with his serve and said that it was his fault that he did not serve well, while praising Thiem as he took advantage of it.

Hurkacz, a 22-year-old Pole, earned three-set upsets of No. 28 Lucas Pouille, No. 6 Kei Nishikori and No. 24 Denis Shapovalov to make his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal against his childhood idol. Federer was playing in his 83rd at this level.

Thiem collapsed to the ground after claiming the biggest title of his career
Thiem collapsed to the ground after claiming the biggest title of his career

'I think it's not my right to congratulate you, you have 88 more titles than me, ' Thiem told Federer as he accepted the trophy, calling it a privilege to play against the 37-year-old superstar. "I had to get used to it".

Nadal improved to 6-0 against Khachanov, although it was tougher and longer than Federer's win.

A hold at love put Thiem up 4-1 and on the way to forcing the third set.

"It sure is frustrating and disappointing and sad, to some extent, but I've been in these positions so many times that I get over it very quickly".

Federer was warming up on another court at the same time as Nadal and figured the match was on. He led 5-3 and served it out, winning on his second match point with a backhand volley.

Thiem then seized his opportunity in the 11th game to go 6-5 up and served out the first of two championship points to clinch a maiden Indian Wells Open title in two hours and two minutes. "I didn't feel like I played bad, either".

The win was worth 1000 ranking points and Dollars 1,354,010 in prize money. "I feel like I'm actually playing good tennis.

It's a massive event to win", Federer said.

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