x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Nadal books final place to face Swede

Rafael Nadal sailed into his second successive final of the Capitala World Tennis Championship after beating Spanish compatriot David Ferrer.

ABU DHABI // Rafael Nadal sailed into his second successive final of the Capitala World Tennis Championship after beating Spanish compatriot David Ferrer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex. The world No 2 looked in control throughout and, despite being pushed to a tie-break in the first set, held his nerve to comfortably close out the match and book his place in today's final, where he will meet Swede Robin Soderling. Having both been part of the successful Davis Cup team who beat the Czech Republic last month, Nadal and Ferrer were familiar with each others strengths and weaknesses and they cancelled each other out for most of a close first set.

Ferrer matched Nadal early on and had his chances in the opening set, Nadal saving two break points in the fourth game and then a couple of set points at 4-5. The underdog, who beat World Tour Finals champion Nikolay Davydenko on Thursday, could not keep his momentum going in the tie-break, though, and an early break in the second set put Nadal on his way to victory. The world No 17 Ferrer, a late replacement for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, failed to find the same rhythm in the second and was broken in the second game. That was enough for Nadal to close the match and look forward to the duel he wanted, a final with Soderling.

Ferrer said: "I had my chances in the first set but Rafa served very well on important points. But I'm happy with my tennis." Nadal, who lost to Andy Murray in last year's final, added: "This is the perfect preparation for Doha and then the Australian Open." Soderling ended Nadal's unbeaten run of 31 matches on clay in the fourth round of the French Open last year to pave the way for Roger Federer to win the one grand slam that had eluded his stellar career.

Soderling also beat Nadal in a group game of the ATP Tour World Finals in London in November in which he failed to win a match. * With agencies