Found March 15, 2013 on Fox Sports:
A packed house of 16,000 turned out on warm desert night to see two of the greatest tennis players in history meet for the 29th time, but the match never had a chance of turning into an epic. Rafael Nadal, playing well above expectations in his first hard-court tournament since returning to the ATP from knee problems, reached the semifinal of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Roger Federer on Thursday. The first time they met, back in 2004 at Miami on a hard court similar to this, Nadal sprang a surprise by winning, 6-3, 6-3. As soon as it became obvious that Federer's back was going to be a much bigger factor than Nadal's knee, there was no surprise this time. By his normal fleet-footed standards, Federer couldn't move. This might not have been obvious to the uninitiated, but by the time the second Spanish backhand had been slapped back cross court with Roger nowhere near it, the situation was clear. Federer has had back problems throughout the past few years, but he has played through them. The problem started bothering him again this week, and he mentioned it after beating Stan Wawrinka in the previous round. Asked about it Thursday night, he said: "Same as against Stan. I mean, I could play. Happy to be out there and able to compete. But it's obviously a small issue, and that doesn't work against guys like Rafa." Pressed on the subject, Federer added: "When I win, nobody talks about it. But now it's not for me to talk about too much, because I don't like to undermine his performance." And there was no question that Nadal's performance was exceptionally good. Despite a slow court, he was getting the ball to fizz through the night air and faced down Federer's increasingly desperate attempts to break through his defenses. "The longer the match went on, I realized I had to change up my game," said Federer, who started going for broke with huge forehands, a tactic that at least earned him a break back from 0-2 in the second set. But it couldn't last. The crowd gasped when Nadal latched on to a perfectly struck cross-court backhand from the Swiss and swatted it down the line off his forehand with such power that it sounded like a rifle shot. If Federer didn't know the game was up before, he must have then. Nadal asked his great rival if his back was all right when they shook hands at the net, and Federer replied, "Yes, it's OK." But he wasn't fooling Rafa. "I played a fantastic first set, in my opinion," Nadal said. "The second set was strange. The second set I think Roger didn't fight as usual. Probably he had some problems and didn't feel comfortable enough to keep fighting." Not for the first time, Nadal called Federer the greatest player of all time when speaking to the crowd. In the news conference, he was challenged on this, because the stats say that he has now beaten the man he calls the greatest 19 times out of 29. "That's just a fact, a positive fact for me," he said with smile. "But it doesn't change that he has much more tournament victories than me. He has more Grand Slams than me. In Masters 1000 series, we are close." In fact, they have won the same number of Masters titles on the ATP tour. "Same? Then more than close," Nadal said with a laugh when he was told. "So that means his career of today is better than mine, and that's the real thing. And if I think I am better than him because I beat him, I think, 19 against 10, I will be very stupid and very arrogant. I think this is not the case." It certainly isn't, and all that tennis can hope for is that these two amazing champions will be able to continue their rivalry when both are fighting fit.

Federer argues with chair umpire

Roger Federer at the BNP Paribas Open By Romi Cvitkovic March 13, 2013 — What should have been a mostly routine win by Roger Federer over countryman Stan Wawrinka at the 4th round of the BNP Paribas Open, turned into a rollercoaster of a match as Federer lost his cool, double-faulted on set point and much more in his win over Wawrinka. The first set held three breaks of serve and...

Tennis Channel to Air Federer-Nadal BNP Paribas Open Quarterfinal Live Tonight

(March 14, 2013) Tonight on Tennis Channel, Roger Federer will take on Rafael Nadal in the quarterfianls of the BNP Paribas Open LIVE on Tennis Channel at 10 pm ET. This is the 29th time these two have played, this Quarterfinal match-up is just their second match played prior to a semifinal. The only other [...]

Nadal advances to Indian Wells final

Rafael Nadal rallied to beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-5 in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday and reach his fourth ATP Tour final in as many events. Off to the best start of his career, Nadal improved to 16-1 - including 13 wins in a row - on the year, having won two clay-court titles and been runner-up in another since returning from a left knee injury that idled him...

Can Del Potro stay hot in desert?

Rafael Nadal reaching the final of this ATP Masters 1000 on hard courts after a seven-month layoff is a tough act to follow as far as headline-making is concerned. But Juan Martin del Potro managed it here in the semifinal of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday night. The tall, seemingly languid Argentine fought back superbly from down 3-0 in the final set to inflict the first defeat...

Nadal, Federer, Murray advance

The heat faded with the setting sun, but Roger Federer and Andy Murray needed a little longer to cool off as they won contentious battles in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. Federer eventually overcame his old friend and Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5, after the ATP supervisor had been called to the court while Andy Murray got into an argument...

Federer v Nadal – An Old Rivalry

By James A. Crabtree Before, it was Laver and Rosewall, McEnroe and Borg, Agassi and Sampras. For the past year it’s been more about Djokovic and Murray. One hundred years from now the beginning of this millennium will be remembered for clashes shared by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The biggest headline in tennis once again took centre stage at Indian Wells in the men’s quarterfinal...

Nadal Tops Federer to Move into Semis of Indian Wells

(March 14, 2013)  In the 29th edition of the rivalry which dates back to when they first met in Miami in 2004, Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer 6-4, 6-2 to move into the semifinals of the BNP Paris Open on Thursday. In the first set both men stayed even until the seventh game when Nadal [...]

Nadal Rallies fo Win Against a Resurgent Gulbis

(March 13, 2013) No. 5 Rafael Nadal ended the run of  qualifier Ernests Gulbis on Wednesday 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 at the BNP Paribas Open to snap the Latvian’s 13 match win streak and to extend a streak of his own to 11. The Spaniard leapt into the air, took off his headband and pumped his [...]

Federer Escapes Wawrinka to Gain Indian Wells Quarters

(March 13, 2013) Roger Federer needed three sets to escape Swiss countryman Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5 on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open. Federer took the first set comfortably and served for the match at 5-4 in the second when Wawrinka broke Federer at love. Wawrinka said he felt better in the second set.  [...]
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