He’s already recaptured the World No. 1 ranking… And, now Rafael Nadal is hoping to end the year with a bang.
The 27-year-old Spanish tennis star defeated Roger Federer 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals, ending the six-time champion’s hopes of finishing a disappointing season on a high note.
Nadal will play defending champion Novak Djokovic, the tournament’s second seed, for the title on Monday.
The world’s two highest-ranked players are unbeaten in the tournament this week and have faced each other five times this season, with Nadal winning three times.
Nadal leads Djokovic 22-16, but the Serbian won their latest match last month in Beijing after losing his top ranking to the Spaniard.
Nadal, who claimed his first win over Federer on an indoor hard court, extended his winning record over Federer to 22-10 and has now beaten the Swiss on every surface. Federer had won their four previous matches at the ATP Finals, dropping only one set.
“The most important thing for me is (that indoor) is the toughest surface for me to play,” Nadal said. “The most difficult for me was to be able to win four matches against top eight players. It’s a very good way to finish the year.”
Chasing his first title at the ATP Finals, Nadal played down the importance of the victory over his greatest rival.
“It is probably one of my best seasons,” said Nadal, who reclaimed the No. 1 spot this year after coming back from a knee injury in February. “The most satisfying thing is always (to win) the tournament more than the personal victories. So for me it is more important to be in the final in the last tournament of the year than to have the chance to win against Roger.”
Since he returned from his seven-month injury hiatus, Nadal has produced one of the most impressive comebacks in tennis history. He has won 75 matches — losing only six — and captured 10 titles, including the French Open, the US Open and five Masters events.