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Updated: January 3, 2010 00:40 IST

Nadal wins UAE exhibition final

AP
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Rafael Nadal holds the trophy after beating Robin Soderling during the final of the Capitala Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi.
AP
Rafael Nadal holds the trophy after beating Robin Soderling during the final of the Capitala Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Rafael Nadal won his first title of 2010, beating Robin Soderling 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the final of the season-opening Capitala exhibition tournament to end a two-match losing streak against the Swede.

After both players held serve throughout the first set, the second-ranked Spaniard broke decisively in the sixth game of the second at Zayed Sports City.

Soderling had ended Nadal’s 31-game unbeaten run on clay at the French Open last year, and beat him again at the season-sending ATP Tour World Finals in London.

Roger Federer defeated David Ferrer of Spain 6-1, 7-5 to finish third.

Nadal said overtaking Federer was not his main target for 2010.

“Everybody wants the No. 1 ranking but, believe me, for me it is not my goal for this year,” Nadal said. “To play competitively throughout and win as many tournaments as I can, that is my goal. To be happy playing, to be healthy and to play like I have played over the last two days.”

Nadal will play in next week’s Qatar Open, the Australian Open from January 18 and the ABN AMRO from February 8 in the Netherlands before taking a break. Nadal injured both knees and his abdomen last season, missing Wimbledon among other tournaments.

“After the end of the season, I didn’t stop and practiced for two and a half weeks,” Nadal said. “I hope to have good tournaments in Doha, Australia and Rotterdam, and then have three weeks off because I have to rest a little in order to play the American season and play many seasons afterwards.”

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