World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(2), 7-6(2) on Friday in Indian Wells.
Earlier in the day, Nadal was a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Kei Nishikori.
Djokovic and Nadal will meet for the 48th time, with Djokovic leading their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 24-23. The Serb has won nine of their past 10 meetings, with Nadal’s only victory in that spell coming in the 2014 Roland Garros final.
This will be the fourth time the pair has met at Indian Wells. Nadal won their first battle in the 2007 final, but Djokovic since beat the Spaniard in the 2008 semifinals and the 2011 final.
“He’s a great competitor, a great fighter,” said Djokovic. “He’s been getting himself out of trouble a few times this week and showing why he’s one of the best players in the history of the game.
“He never gives up. He always makes you play an extra shot. Always makes you earn the win. I’m going into tomorrow’s match knowing what’s expected of me and I know how to get ready.
“I won the past couple of times we played against each other, so maybe that can give me a slight mental advantage coming into the court. But everything is open. It’s the semi-finals. We both have won multiple titles here and hopefully we can come up with some good tennis. I’m hoping I can deliver my best game tomorrow.”
The 28-year-old Djokovic is bidding to reach the final of this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the sixth time. In addition to his runner-up showing against Nadal in 2007, the Serb lifted the trophy in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015.