Federer sends lovely message to Nadal after his retirement

Federer sends lovely message to Nadal after his retirement

Federer, 37 and bidding for his 101st career title, received a walkover into the final, where he will play Dominic Thiem, a 7-6 (3) 6-7 (3) 6-4 victor over Milos Raonic in Saturday's only semi-final.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) returns as he wins his semi final match against Karen Khachanov (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Nadal confirmed he would also skip the upcoming Miami Masters and aim to recover and prepare for the claycourt season, targeting a return at Monte Carlo April 14-21.

It means Federer is into a third successive Indian Wells final and having been beaten by Juan Martin del Potro in a thriller last year, he will hope to claim his sixth title in the Californian desert, two years after his last which came after victory over Stan Wawrinka.

Thiem and Federer have split their four previous meetings, with only one going three sets. The trainer returned again with Nadal leading 3-2 in the second set.

"I'm just excited to be in another finals here, to be quite honest", Federer said.

Sunday's women's final features 18-year-old Canadian wild-card Bianca Andreescu against two-time major champion Angelique Kerber.

"Not that I didn't expect it", Federer said, "but it definitely went better than I thought it would".

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Nadal trailed 6-5 before Khachanov's forehand error forced the second tiebreaker, which Nadal dominated to close out the match that lasted just over two hours. "With all this stuff, I still where I am today".

"He's playing very well, using the kick serve very effectively", Federer said after watching the final set of Thiem's semifinal win.

"It's always something special to play him", he said.

Federer believes Nadal is playing better than he did in losing the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic, who was upset earlier in the week.

Rafael Nadal after withdrawing from a clash with Roger Federer.

'As I said yesterday after the match, I felt that something happened in the knee, ' Nadal said, quoted on the official ATP website.

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

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