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.”