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UPDATE 1-Tennis-Nadal pulls out with injury before Federer semi-final

Updated: 17-03-2019 00:39 IST
UPDATE 1-Tennis-Nadal pulls out with injury before Federer semi-final

Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Indian Wells tournament on Saturday with a knee injury, shortly before his eagerly-awaited semi-final clash with great rival Roger Federer.

It would have been the 39th meeting between the pair and the first since 2017. "I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good to compete at the level I needed to compete in semi-final," Spain's Nadal said in a statement. "It's tough for me to accept all these things that I'm going through in my career."

The knee had begun to bother him in the second set of his 7-6(2) 7-6(2) victory over Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals on Friday. Nadal had enjoyed a dominant week at Indian Wells, reaching the semi-finals without dropping a set.

"For me it is not about today only," the world number two said. "It's about what it means for me to have to pull out in a tournament that I love so much like this one, and in the semi-finals after playing well during the whole tournament. You can imagine that I can't be happy."

Nadal, who has struggled with knee injuries throughout his stellar career, was the second high-profile player to withdraw from the tournament. Last Sunday, Serena Williams retired from her match against Garbine Muguruza with what was described as a viral illness.

Federer, 37, will play either Milos Raonic or Dominic Thiem in the final, bidding for his 101st career title. (Reporting by Martyn Herman and Gene Cherry Editing by Ian Chadband)