Federer, Thiem in final as Nadal hobbles out

INDIAN WELLS, United States: The 39th match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal failed to materialize on Saturday as the world No 2 Spaniard hobbled out of Indian Wells to send Federer into a title clash with Dominic Thiem.
Nadal, whose longstanding right knee trouble flared up in his quarterfinal victory over Karen Khachanov, couldn’t take the court for the blockbuster semifinal with Swiss great Federer.
“I wanted to try my best to be competitive today,” a dejected Nadal said. “I warmed up today in the morning, and I felt that my knee was not enough good to compete at the level that I need to compete, to play semi-finals match of this event.”
Federer, seeded fourth as he pursues a record sixth title in the California desert, will battle 25-year-old Austrian Thiem, who is seeking his first title in one of the ATP’s prestigious Masters 1000 events.
Thiem, ranked eighth in the world, was rock-solid in a 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 victory over 14th-ranked Canadian Milos Raonic.
Thiem, who advanced to the semis on a walkover when Gael Monfils withdrew with a Achilles tendon inflammation, was locked-in from the start, firing 10 winners without an unforced error in the opening set.
He couldn’t convert his only break point against Raonic in the second, and Raonic managed to seize the tiebreaker aided by a favourable netcord bounce for a 5-3 lead.
‘Amazing’ Thiem
Thiem gained the first break of the match for a 3-2 lead in the third and after saving the only break point he faced all day as he served for the match wrapped it up with a sparkling backhand volley.
“It was an amazing day,” said Thiem, who will be playing in his third Masters 1,000 final. “His serve is just unreal so even though I played amazing it was so close the first two sets.” — AFP