INDIAN WELLS  - World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and world No. 3 Roger Federer set up their first semi-final clash at the Indian Wells ATP Masters with contrasting victories over Argentinian opponents on Friday.

Nadal, who is chasing his first title of 2012, survived an opening set scare en route to a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over David Nalbandian in their quarter-final match. Swiss star Federer had a much easier time, rolling to a 6-3, 6-2 win over a frustrated Juan Martin del Potro in the joint WTA/ATP tournament in the California desert.

Federer and Nadal have met 27 times previously with Nadal having won 18, including four of the last five. "We played 27 times. It will be the first time here at Indian Wells," Nadal said. "Tomorrow I have a fantastic match to enjoy and to try to play aggressive."

Added Federer, "I have had some great matches with him all around the world by now." But this will be the first time 16-time grand slam winner Federer and reigning French Open champ Nadal will meet on the hardcourts of Indian Wells.

World number one Novak Djokovic will face American John Isner in the other semi-final on Friday. Nadal, who hit three aces, clinched the victory in the 10th game of the final set Friday when Nalbandian's running backhand went wide. Nalbandian's momentum carried him forward and he almost crashed into his chair but managed to kick it over instead. He then congratulated Nadal on the win. "It was very difficult," Nadal said. "I was a little bit more nervous than usual. It is a very important victory because I will now be in the semi-finals here. I am excited and happy.

"Nalbandian always gives me problems on my game, and that probably makes me feel a little bit not safe before the match. That's why probably I had more mistakes than usual." A failure of the Hawkeye video review system angered del Potro in the opening game and set the tone in his match against Federer.

Federer needed just 69 minutes to dispatch del Potro, despite the marathon first game that lasted 11 minutes thanks to the Hawkeye problem. In the opening game del Potro tried to challenge a call on Federer's serve by asking for a video review.

The serve was called in but del Potro thought it was out. When the review system didn't work, chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani of Sweden allowed the original call to stand which upset del Potro. "It was clearly out and the machine didn't work," del Potro said. Del Potro was particularly upset because he knew he needed to get off to a quick start against Federer -- and he admitted he let it affect him the rest of the match. "Roger played better than me. I couldn't be focused during all the match. I don't feel comfortable playing the match, but it was my problem," he said. Federer also thought the ball was long. He said it was unfortunate but didn't think the failed challenge by del Potro ultimately affected the outcome. ATP Tour officials said the problem with the replay came from a dropped Internet connection.