Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer for the third time this year to set up a clash with Rafael Nadal in the final of the BNP Paribas Open today.

The third-seeded Serbian, who saw off the former world number one in Dubai and at the Australian Open, repeated the feat at Indian Wells despite a second-set wobble.

Federer threatened a comeback at that stage but Djokovic held his nerve to complete a 6-3 3-6 6-2 success.

Nadal managed to win in straight sets, 6-4 6-4, but he was pushed by the returning Juan Martin del Potro.

The Argentinian, who came into the contest on a nine-match winning streak, started well by establishing a 4-1 lead against a strangely out-of-sorts Nadal but the Spaniard stormed back to win five games on the trot and take the opener.

Nadal broke in the fourth game of the second and maintained his advantage to go through.

‘When I served for the first time in the match, I think I made two or three unforced errors with my forehand, so that's not usual,’ said Nadal.

‘That's maybe because I didn't play very good matches this week.

‘After that I think I started to put more balls inside, played higher to his backhand, and tried to get the right rhythm.

‘I think I did well. I played a few good games.

‘I think he had a few more mistakes than usual. That helped me a little bit. But in general, I think I played my best match in Indian Wells this year by far.’