In what is being touted as the marquee match-up on Friday, world number five and 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer will take on long-time rival and world number three Rafael Nadal in the in the quarter-finals of Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Nadal has been in superb form coming off a win Montreal, that saw him beat Novak Djokovic in the semis, and a 12-match winning streak on hardcourt including the 6-2 5-7 6-2 win over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Thursday to set-up the Federer clash. Federer beat Tommy Haas, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 Thursday to advance to the quarters.
Nadal leads 20-10 in the head-to-head. While Nadal leads their clay court encounters, having won 13 of their 15 face-offs, Federer has won 2 of their 3 meetings on grass courts, and they have split their 12 meetings on hardcourts.
20 of their 30 matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record 8 Grand Slam finals, and 10 Masters Series finals. Another 7 of their matches have been semi-finals, with only 3 taking place before the last-4 stage.
From 2006 to 2008 they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final. Their 2008 Wimbledon final was lauded as the greatest match ever by many long-time tennis analysts.
The nine-year-old rivalry started in March 2004, when Federer and Nadal played their first match in the third round of the Miami Masters. 17-year-old Nadal, who was ranked no. 34 at the time, surprised many by winning in straight sets.
Between them, they have won 29 Grand Slam titles. But with Federer on the wane and Nadal's worrisome knee, it remains to be seen how many more times will the great rivals face-off.