Djokovic to play Nadal in Qatar final

Djokovic to play Nadal in Qatar final

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will break their 23-23 head-to-head record on Saturday when they meet for the 47th time in the Qatar Open final.

Top-seeded Djokovic beat No.3 Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-6 (7-3) on Friday to reach his 16th consecutive final.

The last time the Serb failed to reach a tournament final was when he lost in the quarter-finals in last year’s Qatar Open.

“I’m very proud of the achievement and this particular stat, but I try not to think about what would happen if I would lose and not get to the final. I try to keep an optimistic approach to every match and every tournament.

“This is exactly how I want to start the year, getting to the final in the first tournament of the year, against one of my biggest rivals,” Djokovic said.

Nadal advanced to his 99th career final after defeating Illya Marchenko of Ukraine 6-3 6-4.

“I’m happy with the victory, being in the first final of the season in the first official tournament is something great,” Nadal said. “The most important thing is if you feel yourself that every time you go on court you are competitive against everybody and you have your chances.”

Djokovic won all four of their 2015 meetings without dropping a set. The last time Nadal defeated Djokovic was the 2014 French Open final.

It will be the Spaniard’s first final in 18 hardcourt tournaments since he won the 2014 Qatar title.

Nadal has won 67 career titles, including 14 grand slams.

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