What everyone saw it as a possibility last week when the draw was out, turned out as the main attraction of men's singles contest at Indian Wells. Both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal survived throughout the early stages of the tournament setting a rematch of this year's Australian Open final. For both athletes, this Indian Wells' edition is a perfect opportunity to write down another grat chapter of their career. The winner of this thrilling match could bump into Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Federer learned out how to fight his own demons

For almost a decade, Rafael Nadal has been pretty much an unbreakable cypher, a perpetual kryptonite especially in the Grand Slams final where they competed against each other. Somehow, getting past the 35 years of age milestone, Federer chose a different approach against Nadal, and it paid off. It's a ten years gap between 2017 Australian Open (their last direct meeting with Federer putting away his 18th Major) and 2007 Wimbledon (last time Federer won over Nadal in a Grand Slam final). The decade in question was mostly about Nadal who left few opportunities on the table for his long time rival.

In Melbourne, Federer broke the curse in a stunning way.

He couldn't have done it without a different tactic in place. By playing shorter and more aggressive points, Federer didn't allow Nadal to settle in the tennis court for much time. By choosing not to play in a safety zone, Federer went on for decisive shots with the assumed risk of making unforced errors. It was a calculated risk, in particular on the backhand side, but the aftermath revealed a Nadal being left off guard.

Nadal is climbing the mountain

Despite losing to Sam Querrey in Acapulco final match, Rafael Nadal is definitely getting some momentum. Overall, his structural game is improving as well as his footwork across the tennis court. His physical skills are now at the highest level, so he might want to get involved in longer rallies with Federer.

This tactic has been fruitful in the past for the 30-year-old Spaniard. Once he got Federer in his hook, the game used to be done. In today's match, the Swiss must put in a solid first serve, not on the safety side of the box, but somewhere to disrupt Nadal's tremendous defensive skills. Being a best out of 3 sets, the first one who will impose his own pace on the court will prevail. Having a limited time for adjustments during the match, it could be a two sets match.