Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal will face a tough challenge against Tomas Berdych in the semifinals at Indian Wells. Reuters

Rafael Nadal will hope to continue his impressive return to hard courts when he takes on Tomas Berdych in the first semifinal of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

The tournament is the first time in nearly a year that the Spaniard has played on the most physically abusive surface, but so far his knee has held up well and he gained a marquee victory over great rival Roger Federer in the last round.

While Federer was compromised with a back injury, Nadal was delighted with the way he performed in the first set and he will doubtless be confident of ousting a man who he has dropped just a single set to in their last 11 meetings.

But Nadal looks set to have his work cut out against the big-hitting Berdych who is in fine form having reached the final in his last two tournaments. The 27-year-old has continued his good run here at Indian Wells where he has stormed through his four matches without dropping a set. Indeed he has dropped the fewest games en route of the four semifinalists.

Next up is an equally intriguing battle between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro. Seventh seed Del Potro was hugely impressive in taking out Andy Murray in the quarterfinals as he came from a set down to beat the defending US Open champion in three.

But the Argentinean, himself a former US Open champion, will have to improve an 8-2 losing record to Djokovic if he is to make his first final at Indian Wells and only his second ATP Masters 1000 final.

Djokovic has won the last four meetings between the pair, dropping just the one set. But Djokovic does have some recent success against the world No. 1, having beaten him in the bronze-medal match at the 2012 Olympics.

The Serbian looked good in dispensing of Jo Wilfried-Tsonga for the loss of just four games, though, and will be favorite to go one better than at Indian Wells last year and reach his fourth final.

Where to watch: The men’s semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open will get underway from Indian Wells at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN News, with a live stream available on ESPN3.