Indian Wells Flashback: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer meet in QF. Who wins?

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer played their first quarter-final duel on the Tour in 2013

by Jovica Ilic
Indian Wells Flashback: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer meet in QF. Who wins?

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer set their 29th meeting in Indian Wells 2013. Interestingly, it was their first quarter-final duel, never meeting at that stage before. Nadal scored a 6-4, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 25 minutes to remain on the title course.

The Spaniard skipped the second part of 2012 due to a knee injury, returning in February 2013 and raising his level on clay. Rafa gained momentum ahead of the season's first Masters 1000 event and played well to enter the last four.

Nadal prevailed over Ernests Gulbis in the fourth round, setting a blockbuster clash with Federer. Rafa overpowered a great rival and reached his eighth consecutive semi-final in the desert. Nadal earned the 19th victory over Federer after delivering better numbers on the first and second serve.

He dropped 16 points in nine service games and suffered one break from two chances offered to the Swiss. On the other hand, Roger was way below his usual level, spraying 30 unforced errors and losing half of the points in his games.

Rafael Nadal defeated Roger Federer in the 2013 Indian Wells quarter-final.

He offered 11 break opportunities to Rafa, who seized four to control the scoreboard and sail into the last four. They stayed neck and neck in the shortest points up to four strokes.

Nadal ruled in the more extended ones and left Federer far behind in the mid-range exchanges to stay on the title course. Roger forced Rafa's error to hold after deuce in the first game. Nadal leveled the score at 1-1 with an ace in game two to get his name on the scoreboard.

A service winner sent the Swiss 2-1 up, and the Spaniard repeated that in the next game for 2-2. Rafa created a break chance in game five, and Roger denied it with an ace to bring the game home and move 3-2 in front. Leaving that opportunity behind, Rafa held at love in game six and drew first blood with a backhand crosscourt winner that sent him 4-3 ahead.

Another backhand winner cemented the break for the Spaniard in game eight, and he wasted two set points on the return in the next one. Federer survived that ninth game to extend the set before Nadal sealed the opener with a booming serve in the next one for 6-4 in 46 minutes.

Carried by this momentum, Rafa broke Roger at love in the second set's first game. The Spaniard held at love with an unreturned serve in game two to establish a set and a break lead and settle into a fine rhythm. A forehand down the line winner secured another break for Rafa in game three, ruling the court in those moments and taking significant steps toward the finish line.

Federer pulled one break back in game four before Nadal extended the gap to 4-2 thanks to a service winner in game six, eager to defend that remaining break. There was no need for that, though, as he broke Roger's serve again in game seven to open a 5-2 gap.

Nadal sealed the deal with three winners in game eight to book a place in the semi-final and earn a much-needed win after such a long break.

Indian Wells Rafael Nadal Roger Federer