Rafael Nadal had to fight in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells 2019. The Spaniard reached his tenth semi-final in Indian Wells after beating Karen Khachanov 7-6 7-6 in two hours and 17 minutes. Karen had pushed Rafa to the limit at last year's US Open, and he did it again in the desert before the top-ranked player dropped him for the sixth time in as many meetings. In this way, Rafa set the 39th meeting against his great rival Roger Federer in a battle for a place in the final. Nadal had 25 winners and 16 unforced errors, and Khachanov followed with 36 winners and 32 unforced errors. Karen built up a huge advantage in the shorter range of up to four shots, and Rafa erased that disadvantage in the midrange and longer rallies to emerge on top and avoid a decider. In the second set, the Spaniard received medical time out on his right knee and fended off a set point at 4-5 to seal the deal and hope for the best against Federer. Karen hit 17 aces and avoided seven of nine break points. She kept the pressure on Rafa with two breaks from six chances and stayed close in both sets. Khachanov fired the shots from him to break Rafa in the opening game of the match. The Russian settled into a good rhythm in the first two service games before Nadal broke again at 2-3 after a poor volley from Karen.

Barty talks about Rafa Nadal

Having announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 25 citing a lack of physical and emotional "drive," Ashleigh Barty appeared astounded by the love and determination that Rafael Nadal has for the sport. Almost a decade older than Barty, the Mallorcan is still going strong at the age of 35. "You think of Rafael Nadal as someone whose longevity in the sport has been undeniable. He's been amazing for the sport of tennis," Barty said. "For me as a fan to see him do that over such an extended period has been a pleasure. I love the competition [too]. That's what has driven me the most in my career, that one-on-one competition and the thrill of the fight. I know that I'll miss it 100%. But I'll be able to get the adrenaline in different ways. Those ways will remain to be seen," Barty said. "I know that I've been very fortunate to have so many incredible moments on the court where that competitive nature has come out on top and has really flourished at times. It's been an incredible career."

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