Rafael Nadal reaches final of MWTC

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Rafael Nadal returns the ball to David Ferrer during the MWTC semi-final.

For all those worried about the state of Rafael Nadal’s game heading into the new season, the Spaniard’s impressive 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 battling victory over his countryman David Ferrer Friday in Abu Dhabi should ease their concerns.

Nadal, who is his own worst critic, said he was pleased with “all aspects” of the way he played in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship semi-finals, and understandably so.

– VIDEO: Nadal reflects on victory over Ferrer in MWTC semi
– INTERVIEW: Stan Wawrinka holds high hopes for 2016
– MWTC: Anderson comfortable with place among elites
– INTERVIEW: Andy Murray on fatherhood and 2016

The world No5 was in explosive form, so was Ferrer, as they pushed each other like they were fighting for the French Open crown and not a place in the final of an exhibition event.

Nadal had lost his opening match in Abu Dhabi on each of his last three visits to the UAE capital and he was happy he finally bucked that trend.

Against Ferrer, he was hitting the lines, coming to the net, moving incredibly well and standing well inside the court. Such form on New Year’s day is not typically expected and Nadal admits his rhythm was that of someone who had been competing for months and not one returning from an offseason.

“I started very well. It was a great match I think. First match of the season and the rhythm and intensity of the game is like after six months of the season,” said a delighted Nadal, who faces Milos Raonic in the final today.

“So we played I think a great match both of us. We were talking after in the locker room and I think both of us were happy the way we played, happy the way that we moved, and the way that we competed. We tried our best and I think the people enjoyed it. We played great points and for me it’s important to start with a victory, tomorrow I have a chance to play again and I’m excited about it.”

Nadal had said after his final match of 2015 – semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals in London – that he doesn’t deserve a vacation and indeed he didn’t take one. He says he only had a couple of days off before he started his 2016 preparation, that included a brief appearance in the IPTL with the rest done in Mallorca.

“First match of the season and the rhythm and intensity of the game is like after six months of the season” – Nadal

Asked if having virtually no break has helped him maintain his rhythm, Nadal said: “A few things. I didn’t stop, second and the most important thing is that since three or four months I am playing much better and I’m feeling good on court and today was a good confirmation of that in the first match of the season.

“So just happy the way that I played in all aspects, I just need to keep going.”

Nadal is confident he will be competitive this season and is not worried about bridging the gap with the world’s top-two Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

“I didn’t have some problems when I met these players, the problem is I haven’t met these players, that’s the real thing,” Nadal joked, implying he was losing too early in the draws to face the top guys.

“I’m working hard to be at the level of these players. I know that when I was playing well during my career I was ready to compete against all of these guys. And I feel good now. So let’s see. I feel ready to compete.”

On centre court at Zayed Sports City, Nadal broke for a 4-1 lead and sealed the opening set with an ace.

The 29-year-old twice went up a break in the second but Ferrer found his inner beast and broke back both times to force a tiebreak, which he secured with a huge forehand.

The pair were trading 20+-shot rallies and hitting big from every inch of the court. Nadal broke with an inch-perfect forehand down-the-line early in the decider and consolidated with an even crisper drop shot for 3-0.

Ferrer’s never-say-die spirit though saw the world No7 break back but Nadal retaliated in the eighth game and served out the match for the win.  

“Now is the time to enjoy that victory in the semi-finals that after a few years without winning this semi-final match. It’s great to be back in the final and I’m going to try my best to be ready for tomorrow and play a good match,” added Nadal.

Ferrer will face Stan Wawrinka in the third-place playoff after the Swiss world No4 fell to Milos Raonic 7-5, 7-5 in the other semi-final. 

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World No14 Milos Raonic reflects on his win over Stanislas Wawrinka, and looks ahead to the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship against Rafa Nadal. 

– VIDEO: Nadal reflects on victory over Ferrer in MWTC semi

– INTERVIEW: Stan Wawrinka holds high hopes for 2016

– MWTC: Anderson comfortable with place among elites

– INTERVIEW: Andy Murray on fatherhood and 2016









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VIDEO: Nadal reflects on victory over David Ferrer in MWTC semi

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World No.5 Rafael Nadal reflects on his victory over David Ferrer in Mubadala World Tennis Championship semi-finals.

– INTERVIEW: Stan Wawrinka holds high hopes for 2016

– MWTC: Anderson comfortable with place among elites

– INTERVIEW: How Bencic is breaking the mould

– INTERVIEW: Andy Murray on fatherhood and 2016









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