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Tennis

Nadal and Djokovic battle anew at Indian Wells Masters

World number one Novak Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday night. It will be 48th meeting between the two.
World number one Novak Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday night. It will be 48th meeting between the two. Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

It is one of the most enduring rivalries in men's tennis. Novak Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal for the 48th time on the circuit since they met for the first time in the quarter-finals at the 2006 French Open in Paris. Djokovic leads the head-to-head 24-23 afer winning nine of their last 10 encounters.

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The venue on Saturday night will be the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Masters. Djokovic is the defending champion and goes into the clash against the Spaniard after edging past the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 7-6.

Nadal, seeded fourth, dispatched the fifth seed Kei Nishikori from Japan 6-4 6-3 to reach the last four.

"I beat a top 10 player and that is important for my confidence," said Nadal, the winner of 14 Grand Slam titles inclding nine French Opens. "Saturday is another opportunity for me to play against another top player."

The 29-year-old added, "I feel I am strong mentally and I have the right energy. I am able to fight for every ball and I now believe in myself the whole match."

Djokovic says he will go into the game with confidence.

"I won the last couple of times we played against each other so maybe that can give me a slight mental advantage," said the 27-year-old Serb. "When you step on the court you feel the tension. That's why it is important to use that strong emotion and intensity and channel it in a positive way rather than a negative way."

The other semi pits the David Goffin against Milos Raonic.

Goffin is the first Belgian to reach the last four at Indian Wells and he achieved the feat with a straight sets win over the former US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Raonic moved into his second consecutive Indian Wells semi-final with a 7-5, 6-3 win over the Frenchman Gaël Monfils.

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