Nadal remains without a title since Toronto in August past year and a win over Federer since the Australian Open in 2017 but with a four-week break he will re-emerge for the clay-court season in Monte Carlo before yet another French Open at Roland Garros.
Next up on Saturday for fourth seed Federer will be his 39th career encounter with Nadal, provided the Spaniard wins his quarter-final against Russian Karen Khachanov later on Friday. Sometimes it's tough and it can be frustrating for me personally going through all this stuff.
Federer concluded: When Rafa came on tour I was World No. 1 and he was very shy and it was like, Whatever Roger is deciding is okay, then he grew stronger and developed his own character.
Nadal trailed 6-5 before Khachanov's forehand error forced the second tiebreaker, which Nadal dominated to close out the match that lasted just over two hours.
Nadal choked up discussing his withdrawal last fall, and he appeared near tears on Saturday.
Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Milos Raonic of Canada during their men’s singles semifinal at the Indian Wells 2019
"Playing against him for the first time on the big stadium of a great crowd here was for sure different feeling", Hurkacz said.
Then he gathered himself, saying, "It's not the moment to complain much".
"Being honest I don't have doubts today that I will be ready for Monte Carlo".
Nadal reached the final at the Australian Open, and while he lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic he said it was a positive sign after he had to pull the plug early on his 2018 season. He's ranked No. 2 in the world and has a match record of 11-2. "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".
"Now is the process that I have to decide what direction we have to take to recover well and to recover as soon as possible".
While Nadal said he feels knee pain "almost always", in the face of this latest setback he insisted: "My goal doesn't change".
Messi leads demolition of Lyon to take Barca to Champions League quarters
Things got shaky for a bit in the second half when Lyon cut the score in half with a rebound finish from Lucas Tousart . After seeing his most recent come in European action, his performance was hailed by Ernesto Valverde.