Nadal opens up 2010 with Abu Dhabi victory
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:52
Rafael Nadal grabbed his second chance to avenge last year’s Roland Garros defeat to Robin Soderling in the final of the Capitala World Tennis Challenge in Abu Dhabi.
The world No.2, who defends his Aussie Open title in a couple of weeks in Melbourne, clinched the exhibition title with a 7-6(3) 7-5 victory over the Swede to get his 2010 season off to a running start.
Soderling, who beat Roger Federer in the semi-finals for the first time in thirteen meetings, stayed with the Spaniard throughout the first set and even had two set points, but faded after losing the tie-break.
Nadal earlier hailed the event as the “perfect preparation” for Doha, where the ATP season begins next week.
But it was Soderling, who beat the Spaniard in their two previous meetings, who took the final to Nadal with his trademark aggressive approach.
It brought the Swede two set points, both saved before Nadal forced a tie-break. Reprieved, the Spaniard comfortably won the breaker 7-3 with a solid, if not vintage, display from the back court.
With a one-set lead to his name Nadal settled into his groove, grabbing a break early in the second set. Soderling recovered to level things at 4-4, and rescued three match points two games later.
But Nadal ground the faltering Swede down over games eleven and twelve to clinch the title.
Federer had earlier bounced back from his defeat to Soderling with a 6-1 7-5 victory over David Ferrer to take third place in the exhibition.