BASEL, Switzerland: Rafael Nadal played his best tennis of the week to beat Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (7) in the Swiss Indoors semifinals on Saturday.
The third-seeded Nadal could now face Roger Federer in a final for the first time since May 2013.
“I have played against Roger hundreds of times around the world,” said Nadal, who has a 23-10 career record over his old rival. “In Madrid a couple of times in finals, but I have never played him in his home.”
Federer followed Nadal on his hometown court to face unseeded Jack Sock of the United States in the other semifinal.
After three straight three-set matches at Basel, Nadal finally got a more straightforward win.
Nadal overcame dropping his serve in the opening game of each set and saved two set points for the fifth-seeded Frenchman in the tiebreaker.
Spain’s Rafael Nadal returns a ball to France’s Richard Gasquet during their semifinal match …
He clinched the victory on his second match point when Gasquet sent a backhand wide.
Nadal had seemed in trouble trailing 4-3 in the first set when he called for the trainer at a changeover.
Returning with tape below his right knee, Nadal quickly turned the match around and broke Gasquet’s serve twice to take the first set, clinching it with a fierce forehand topspin passing shot.
“I was a little bit scared,” Nadal said in an on-court interview. “I felt something in the knee, and it’s not the knee I usually have problems (with).”
Again, Nadal struggled on serve to start the second set though Gasquet needed seven break-point chances before finding a winner in a rapid exchange of volleys at the net.
Nadal leveled when Gasquet served for the set leading 5-4.
The Rome Masters was the last event that featured a Nadal vs. Federer final, which the Spaniard won in two sets.
They last played each other competitively in January 2014, when Nadal won an Australian Open semifinal in three straight sets.