David Ferrer stunned fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in straight sets on Friday to set up a final showdown with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic at a US$250,000 three-day exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
Ferrer took advantage of a below-par Nadal, winning 6-3, 6-2, after Djokovic had earlier demolished Swiss Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1 at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Two-time defending champion Nadal blamed a shoulder injury as the world No. 2 trailed from the outset going 5-0 down in the first set.
“I was not in my best condition. I had a little trouble with my shoulder in the last month, but David was fantastic,” Nadal said.
“Rafael has not been able to practice much because of his shoulder,” Ferrer said. “But I played very consistent and was happy with my match.”
Earlier Djokovic showed no signs of the back and shoulder injuries which hampered his final months of last season as he took just 44 minutes to dispatch world No. 3 Federer.
“Definitely an incredible performance. Lots of confidence if I continue playing like this,” said Djokovic, the winner of three Grand Slam and five Masters titles for a 70-6 winning record last season.
Fifth-ranked Ferrer said he was relishing another clash with the world’s top player whom he has a 5-6 record against and handed a rare defeat in the ATP World Tour finals in London in November.
“It will be very difficult. Novak is No. 1 in the world. I will do my best to make a good match against him,” the Spaniard said.