Rafael Nadal suffered straight sets defeat in the hands of Andy Murray in his first match since October when he called time on an injury-marred season early to undergo appendix surgery.
He No. 6-ranked Briton saw off the match-rusty Spaniard 6-2 6-0 in 1 hour and 28 minutes to set up Novak Djokovic in tomorrow’s final at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships- an exhibition tournament which does not count for ATP World Tour head-to-head, statistics or rankings.
“The main difference today was that Murray has played a lot more than me, he doesn’t stop!” Nadal said after the loss.
“Andy was just awesome today. Although 6-2, 6-0 wasn’t a true reflection [of the match]. … I dominated a lot of points but couldn’t finish. I will improve.”
Top seed Djokovic saw off Swiss No. 2 Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1 6-2 in the other semi-finals, which lasted just 57 minutes on Thursday.
Nadal- a 14-time Grand Slam champion- will defend his title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha next week as he continues to gather match-fitness ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on Monday January 19.