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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 1, 2010

Tennis: Nadal wins, Federer loses in Abu Dhabi

Associated Press

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates Rafael Nadal won and Roger Federer lost in the semifinals of the season-opening Capitala exhibition tournament today.

Nadal beat Spanish Davis Cup teammate David Ferrer 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 to secure a place in the final against Robin Soderling, who earlier dispatched the top-ranked Federer 6-7 (6-8), 7-6 (7-1), 6-2. The players held serve in the first two sets before Soderling broke Federer in the third and seventh games of the third set to earn his first victory over the Swiss in 13 matches.

"I always said the more times I play him, the closer I'll get, and here I am today," Soderling said. "So far so good, but it's going to be a long season for sure, hopefully I'll get to play against Roger a few more times."

Last year, Soderling broke into the top 10 on the back of two wins over Nadal. He first beat him in the fourth round of the French Open to end the Spaniard's 31-match winning streak, but went on to lose to Federer in the Paris final.

"Now when I go out there I feel more confident having beaten all the top guys," Soderling said. "I can now believe that I belong up there."

Federer praised Soderling's performance.

"Magnus (Norman), his coach, has been doing a great job with him and I'm sure we will be playing a number of times in the future. It was hard to play him in the very first match of the year, but I had fun," Federer said.