Rafael Nadal and world No.1, Novak Djokovic, will today face off in the final of the ExxonMobil Qatar Open in Doha.
Djokovic overcame Tomas Berdych in two grueling sets to win 6-3 7-6 while Nadal brushed aside Illya Marchenko 6-3 6-4.
The match will be the pair’s 47th professional meeting with the head-to-head record standing at 23-23. The last time the pair met was in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London last December.
They met four times in 2015, with Djokovic victorious on all four occasions including at the French Open, which used to be Nadal’s fiefdom.
The Mallorca native has fought back injuries and bad form to regain some of the fighting spirit and relentless running that typified his rise to the top of the tennis world and helped him win 14 Grand Slam titles.
In Djokovic, he faces the ultimate test in today’s men’s tennis as the No.1 blitzed through 2015, winning three Grand Slams and losing in the final of the fourth. It would also be the Serbian’s 16th straight final in his last 16 tournaments.
“I guess it’s a pretty important match tomorrow, let’s see what happens,” Djokovic said after defeating Berdych.
“It’s a final so you fight for the trophy. And knowing that across the net you have the player that you played against the most ever in your career adds more importance to that final,” he added.
Saturday’s match would also be Nadal’s 99th tour final and he will be looking to get one over the best player in the world to boost his confidence for the 2016 season.
“To be back in a final is always a great feeling, especially the first week of the season,” Nadal reiterated.
“For sure, it’s important for me for my confidence, confirm that the end of 2015 season had been something realistic and this beginning of 2016 I am still playing well, so I’m able to already win four matches here and be in the final,” he added.
The current world No.5 revealed after winning the Mubadala exhibition tournament last week that he has had to retune his mental strength – to a level that would be seriously tested by Djokovic’s resolve on Saturday.