ABU DHABI, December 30, 2016
Defending champion Rafael Nadal and Abu Dhabi debutant David Goffin will go head to head in the Saturday’s final of the ninth edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, held at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City in the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Goffin, who lost to Andy Murray in all of the five previous tour meetings between the two, showed an impressive performance with a solid serve and great passing shots to eventually knock out the World No. 1 in one hour and 41 minutes.
“I am happy about the way I played today. I served very well, which was the key to stay in the game against Andy today,” Goffin was pleased after a high-quality match.
“The only bad game I played today was in the second set, when I lost my serve. But I managed break back and in the end I finished really strong like I did yesterday.”
The World No. 11 from Belgium had a great unofficial start into the new season by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday and the World No. 1 on Friday. “It probably does not mean anything but from the beginning of the tournament I just tried to take it like real matches. I need to take it seriously, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense to play here. I was focused and it will give me confidence for the next couple of weeks.”
Nadal and Goffin never met on the tour before but the two had some practice sessions together here in Abu Dhabi. “Rafa looks really strong and fit,” the 26-year-old told. “I think he doesn’t feel any pain in his wrist anymore. I think it is going to be a good match.”
Murray unofficially lost his first match since September and will next play in Doha, being the top seed of the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open, the first ATP World Tour event of the new season.
Atmosphere heated up in the evening when the fans’ favourite Rafael Nadal took to court. The 30-year-old Spaniard defeated Milos Raonic from Canada 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“I had a great start into the match again but Milos started to serve huge in the second. It was tough for me. In the third, I was more aggressive again and served better. It was a great victory against the number three in the world,” Nadal told and is looking forward to the title match.
“David is a very talented player. We practiced a lot of times together and we know each other very well. He is very quick on the court and we will see, if I am able to get to my rhythm.”
Nadal is looking to capture his fourth title in Abu Dhabi, following his triumphs in 2010, 2011 and last year.