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Nadal's comeback form was "expected" - Djokovic

Rafa Nadal returned to the ATP circuit only last month after seven months on the sidelines.

Spanish tennis player Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera revels in his win.

INDIAN WELLS - Rafa Nadal continued his impressive comeback on Saturday by bidding for a place in the BNP Paribas Open final and top seed Novak Djokovic was not at all surprised by the Spaniard's swift progress.

World number five, Nadal, who returned to the ATP circuit only last month after seven months on the sidelines last year with a left knee injury, will face sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych in the last four at Indian Wells.

"Well, it's sort of expected, considering the success throughout his career that he had on all the surfaces," Serbian world number one Djokovic told reporters on Friday about the Spaniard's form in his first hardcourt event in a year.

"It wasn't a big surprise, but, you know, there was always a wonder if he's going to feel physically fit or not to play four tournaments in five weeks. That's very demanding for somebody that's been off for seven months."

Nadal competed in three relatively minor claycourt events in South America last month, winning two of them after reaching all three finals.

The Spanish left-hander then arrived at the hard courts of Indian Wells to test his knee on the surface where his counter-punching style has often been least effective.

So far, the 11-time grand slam singles champion has flourished, winning his first two matches and gaining a walkover before booking his place in the last four by crushing long-time rival Roger Federer 6-2 6-4 on Thursday.

"Obviously he's building the confidence," said Djokovic, after cruising through his quarter-final on Friday in commanding fashion, winning 6-3 6-1 against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

"He feels good, and he's very motivated, I'm sure, to perform his best. He's been playing great tennis."