Sun, Jan 02, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Federer, Nadal final set at Abu Dhabi exhibition

AP, ABU DHABI

Roger Federer returns to Robin Soderling during their semi-final match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Roger Federer rallied from a set down to beat Robin Soderling 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-3 on Friday and set up a meeting with Rafael Nadal in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi.

The top-ranked Nadal beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 in the other semi-final.

Federer, who lost to the fifth-ranked Swede in the exhibition tournament last year, struggled with his serve in the first set and had to save several break points early on. He then made several unforced errors in the tiebreaker, handing Soderling the lead when he hit a forehand long on set point.

However, the No. 2-ranked Swiss took control in the second set, breaking Soderling twice with the help of his powerful forehand.

Trailing 5-3, Soderling double faulted to give Federer a set point and the Swede then sent a shot that bounced on the net cord and out to even the match.

In the third set, Federer broke for a 5-3 lead when Soderling missed an easy forehand, before closing out the match with an ace.

Soderling said he wasn’t able to “get into my rhythm at all.”

“It was a tough match, like always against Roger,” Soderling said. “He played really fast, but overall it was a pretty good match. Maybe I did not serve well in the last two sets.”

Nadal struggled against the sixth-ranked Berdych’s serve at the start, before breaking for a 5-4 lead with a forehand into the corner. He clinched the set with another forehand winner.

Nadal, the defending champion, jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second, breaking Berdych twice before the 25-year-old Czech took the next two games to make it 4-3. However, Berdych’s comeback fell short and Nadal closed out the match with a forehand that the Czech returned into the net.

HOPMAN CUP

AfP, PERTH, Australia

Former world No. 1 Justine Henin made a winning start in her latest comeback yesterday, but the Belgian could not prevent her team losing to Australia at the mixed-teams Hopman Cup.

In her first match since suffering a serious elbow injury when losing to compatriot Kim Clijsters at Wimbledon last June, the world No. 12 was too good for the 129th-ranked Alicia Molik, winning their women’s singles match 6-4, 6-4.

The result gave Belgium a 1-0 lead in the tournament’s opening Group A tie, but local favorite Lleyton Hewitt, in his first match since September, leveled the clash with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the 178th-ranked Ruben Bemelmans.

The Australians then clinched the tie in a match tiebreak in the mixed doubles, winning 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10/8).

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