Tennis icons Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will contest the final of the Mubadala world tennis championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi after both won their Friday semis contests.
Whereas Nadal scored a straight sets 6-4, 6-4 success over Czech Tomas Berdych, Federer needed three sets to get past Swede Robin Soderling. World number two Federer conceded the opening set on the tiebreak but the 16-time grand slam winner then knuckled down and completed a 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-3 victory, sending down 16 aces --- the final one winning him the encounter against last year's finalist here.
The Swiss star, who lost to Soderling at the event 12 months ago, will now meet Spanish world number one Nadal after he outlasted Berdych at the Zayed Sports City's International Tennis Complex.
Nadal had to fight to assert his authority in a tightly-contested opener but seemed to have the match in his pocket after a break to love for a 2-1 second set lead.
A break gave him a 4-1 advantage but the nine-times Grand Slam champion then conceded serve to love and Berdych promptly held to close the gap to a single game.
But Nadal promptly dug deep and served out for victory when his rival netted.
Wild Card entries for Chennai Open
Chennai: The Indian duos of Somdev Devvarman-Sanam Singh and Vishnu Vardhan-Divij Sharan were handed wild card entries for the Chennai Open for the doubles main draw. Somdev and Sanam had reached the semi-finals of the doubles event last year.
Vishnu and Divij won three ITF Futures titles this year and also made it to two finals in ATP Challenger events. Vishnu also won silver with Sania Mirza in mixed doubles at the Asian Games.
Feisty Hewitt still up for the challenge
Perth: Former world number one and two-time Grand Slam winner Lleyton Hewitt hopes a rigorous off-season fitness regime will arrest an alarming slide down the rankings.
The Australian has battled injuries in recent years and heads into the New Year ranked a lowly 54th in the world, having started 2010 at 22. But he said that he was in his best shape since 2005.
Roddick back to defend Brisbane title
Brisbane: American Andy Roddick will put behind him a season dogged by illness to launch the new year with the defence of his Brisbane International title starting on Sunday.