On this day: Rafael Nadal edges Roger Federer for first Mubadala WTC crown



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On this day: Rafael Nadal edges Roger Federer for first Mubadala WTC crown

The first edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship took place at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi between January 1-3, 2009, gathering six top-10 players who battled for $250,000!

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were there but it was Andy Murray who stole the thunder to become the inaugural champion of the third-most important tennis event in the region after Dubai and Doha, beating both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to lift the trophy.

The second edition had to wait until the end of 2010 and it drew another powerful field, led by Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych. In the quarter-final, the Czech prevailed against Marcos Baghdatis while Robin Soderling took down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, setting the semi-final encounters with Nadal and Federer.

Rafa toppled Berdych 6-4, 6-4 to advance into the second straight final at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, breaking the Czech with an incredible forehand down the line winner at 4-4 in the first set and controlling the pace in the second set to reach the title clash.

There, he faced Roger Federer who ousted Robin Soderling 6-7, 6-3, 6-3, with the Swiss raising the level in sets two and three to leave the Swede behind, moving over the top with an ace down the T line at 5-3 in the decider to set the encounter with Rafa on January 1, 2011.

Roger defeated Rafa in the title match at the ATP Finals in London in November and the Spaniard was ready to avenge that loss, beating the Swiss 7-6, 7-6 in the contest with no breaks to lift his first title in Abu Dhabi.

Roger held at love with a forehand winner in the first game, with Nadal who leveled the score at 1-1 thanks to a service winner in game two. They both served well until game ten where Federer created a break chance with a volley winner, denied by Rafa who held thanks to a backhand winner and leveled the score at 5-5.

The Swiss opened a 3-0 advantage in the tie break before Rafa grabbed five straight points, moving in front and closing the set when Federer's backhand landed long in the 11th point. Nothing could separate them in the second set as well, embracing another tie break that Nadal won 7-3 when Federer's forehand landed long.