Rafael Nadal into final against Gail Monfils at Qatar Open in Doha
Beats qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in three sets
Top-ranked Nadal has never won the Qatar title
Roger Federer makes semis in Brisbane with easy vicotyr
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer continued their preparations for the first grand slam of the season with contrasting victories Friday at tournaments in Doha and Brisbane.
World number one Nadal has never won the Qatar Open and stands just one match away from achieving that ambition.
But he was fully extended by German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk before prevailing in three sets.
Earlier, Federer dropped just two games on the Gold Coast as he dismissed Marinko Matosevic 6-1 6-1 in just 58 minutes to reach the last four.
Nadal, who is the only seed left in the tournament after the shock departures of Andy Murray and David Ferrer, could have been headed that way as he dropped the opening set to Gojowczk, who had enjoyed a dream run to his first ATP Tour semifinal.
But the Spaniard hit back to level in typical style and closed out the match 4-6 6-2 6-3 in just under two hours.
“The positive thing is I am in the finals the first week of the season without arriving here with big preparation,” Nadal told the official ATP Tour website.
“Without playing my best, I was able to find a solution. It’s true that I finished the match playing better than what I started,” he added.
Nadal is likely to have his work cut out in Saturday’s final at the Khalifa Tennis Complex, with France’s Gael Monfils his opponent.
Monfils, something of a Doha specialist and twice a losing finalist, showed his quality with a straight sets 6-3 6-2 win over Florian Mayer of Germany in a little under an hour.
He has twice beaten Nadal in the same tournament and showed enough against Mayer to suggest he could repeat the hat-trick.
Federer is playing in Brisbane for the first time in his glittering career and treated the crowd on the Pat Pat Rafter Arena to a tennis master class against his Australian opponent.
He was briefly troubled in the opening game, facing three break points then took firm control.
The top seed will next play France’s Jeremy Chardy, who beat another Australian, wildcard Sam Groth, 7-5 6-4.
The second semifinal will be between second seed Kei Nishikori of Japan and home favorite Lleyton Hewitt.
Nishikori ground out a three set win over Croatia’s Marin Cili, while Hewitt continued his fine run with a straight sets dismissal of Romanian qualifier Marius Copil, 6-4, 6-2.