Spain's David Ferrer got the better of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, a hard-court exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, defeating his countryman in Friday's semifinals 6-4, 6-4.
The world's third-ranked player came out on top in a 90-minute match filled with intense baseline exchanges, getting crucial service breaks late in both sets.
"I think having already had a match yesterday (Thursday) on this same court (against Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka) I played better than Rafa, who started today. I'm happy with my game and tomorrow I'll have to play my best tennis to beat (Novak) Djokovic or (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga," Ferrer said in a post-match interview.
Although Ferrer has won just five of his 26 ATP World Tour matches against Nadal (matches at exhibition tournaments do not count toward the total), the two players have split their eight contests on hard courts.
Ferrer, who has parted ways with longtime coach Javier Piles and is now working with Jose Altur, will face either Djokovic, the world No. 2, or the 10th-ranked Tsonga in Saturday's final.
In another match Friday, third-ranked Scotsman Andy Murray, who missed the end of last season after undergoing back surgery in September, topped Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4.
Murray and Wawrinka lost in Thursday's quarterfinals to Tsonga and Ferrer, respectively.
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship is a tune-up event for next month's Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of the 2014 season. EFE