• Qatar Open

Nadal survives Gojowczyk scare to reach Doha final

ESPN staff
January 3, 2014
Nadal started sluggishly but experience shone through in the end © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal reached the final of the Qatar Open on Friday by coming from behind to beat German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 4-6 6-2 6-3.

Nadal, who reached a career-high 14 finals last year, lost 12 of the opening 13 points of the match - and with it the first three games - against the 162nd ranked Gojowczyk but came back to level the first set before losing serve again in the 10th game.

The world No. 1 Spaniard then raced to a 4-1 lead in the second and broke Gojowczyk's in the third game of the decider after two forehand errors by the German.

Nadal, the only seed remaining in the draw, registered his 662nd win on the ATP World Tour, pulling even with Michael Chang in 13th on the all-time list. The Spaniard also improved to 75-1 in his career when facing a qualifier, with his lone defeat coming against Julien Benneteau in Lyon 10 years ago.

"The positive thing is I am in the final the first week of the season without arriving here with big preparation," Nadal, whose best finish in this tournament was runner-up in 2010, said.

"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. That's always a positive thing, because that means that mentally I was prepared to find solutions."

Nadal will face Gael Monfils in Saturday's final after the Frenchman also overcame a German, easing past Florian Mayer - who knocked out Andy Murray on Wednesday.

Monfils needed just 55 minutes to see off Mayer in a 6-3 6-2 victory.

Monfils was broken in the first game of the match but stayed the course, winning 12 of the next 16 games for the decisive victory, which included nine aces and four breaks of serve.

In the doubles final, Czechs Tomas Berdych and Jan Hajek defeated top seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-2 6-4.

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