Nadal, Djokovic to contest Indian Wells final

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 10:20 PM ET

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Novak Djokovic rallied to beat Roger Federer on Saturday at the $4.5 million BNP Paribas Open, setting up a meeting with Rafael Nadal in the championship match.

The top-ranked Nadal needed a little under two hours to post a 6-4, 6-4 victory over surging Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the day's first semifinal.

Del Potro has rebounded nicely this year after missing most of 2010 while recovering from wrist surgery. He titled three weeks ago at Delray Beach and carried a 17-4 record into Saturday's match, but couldn't overcome Nadal, the reigning U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion.

Nadal used a strong service game to grab the victory. The Spaniard won 81 percent of first-serve points and 58 percent of second-serve points, while facing only three break points.

Nadal will be going for his third Indian Wells crown on Sunday, having earned titles in 2007 and 2009.

But he will have to overcome a red-hot Djokovic, who has not lost a match this year. The Serb won his second Australian Open title in January, titled in Dubai, and also led Serbia to its first-ever Davis Cup championship back in December.

With Saturday's 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory against the 16-time major champion and former world No. 1 Federer, Djokovic improved to 17-0 this season.

Djokovic claimed the win in a little more than two hours, after breaking the second-seeded Swiss five times and saving six break points. He took advantage of Federer's sub-par serve, winning nearly 60 percent of the time when the Swiss went to a second serve. Federer did so often, posting a first serve percent of 56.

The third-seeded Djokovic won the Indian Wells title in 2008, a year after he lost to Nadal in the tournament's final.

Nadal, the all-time leader with 18 ATP Masters wins, owns a 16-7 lifetime record against Djokovic. However, the two have not met this year.

The 2011 Indian Wells winner will collect $611,000.


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