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Indian Wells 2013 Schedule: What to Watch for in Saturday's Semifinal Action

INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 15:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia waits for a serve from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in their quarterfinal match during day 10 of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 15, 2013 in Indian Wells, California. Djokovic won 6-3, 6-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2013

The action is heating up in Indian Wells, Calif., site of the season's first Masters 1000 series event.

Reigning men's tournament champion Roger Federer has already been eliminated, but a pair of superstars and two-time champions at Indian Wells are still in the hunt for the title, setting the stage for a memorable weekend in the Coachella Valley.

Here we'll get you set for Saturday's two monumental men's semifinal clashes.

 

Rafael Nadal Returning to Form

If there were any doubts about Rafael Nadal playing his first hard-court tournament in a year this March at Indian Wells, they've since been erased, as the 26-year-old Spaniard is firing on all cylinders coming into Saturday's semifinal clash with Tomas Berdych.

Nadal took out long-time rival Roger Federer in straight sets in the quarters on Thursday; 6-4, 6-2. Federer was the reigning champion at this event.

Although Nadal's win over Fed doesn't make him the clear-cut favorite with top seed Novak Djokovic still in the mix, it certainly gives him an edge going up against the sixth-seeded Berdych this weekend. Nadal has had Berdych's number for years now, and fourth-seeded David Ferrer's early exit provided the Czech star with an easy route to the semis.

Look for Rafa to continue his return to top form on Saturday with a comfortable win over Berdych.

 

Novak Djokovic Aiming to Stay Perfect

Current world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, who will take on Juan Martin del Potro in the other men's semifinal this weekend, is playing near-flawless tennis this season, having won 22 straight singles matches dating back to the ATP World Tour Finals in London last November.

The six-time Grand Slam champion is 17-0 to start the year, and has won championships at the Australian Open and Dubai already.

Seventh-seeded del Potro has won a tournament of his own, but until Friday hadn't performed well against top-notch competition. And although his three-set victory over Andy Murray in the quarters is promising, it's hardly convincing enough to make him the favorite this weekend against Djokovic.

The 25-year-old Serb is a hard-court magician and a two-time champion at Indian Wells. Plus, he knocked off del Potro earlier this month in the semifinals at Dubai, cruising in straight sets; 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

 

Remaining 2013 BNP Paribas Open Singles Schedule

Date Match Start Time (ET)
Saturday, March 16 (5) Rafael Nadal vs. (6) Tomas Berdych 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (7) Juan Martin del Potro 5 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 (2) Maria Sharapova vs. (8) Caroline Wozniacki 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 Men's Final 5 p.m.

 

*Information courtesy of BNPParibasOpen.com.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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