An unwell Rafael Nadal lost 6-3 6-2 to Nikolay Davydenko in the Qatar Open semi-final.
Nadal, the World No.1 was clearly out of sorts after suffering a weak long bout of fever, losing eight straight games in the match. His loss deprived Tennis fans of another Nadal Vs Federer clash in the final, and instead Davydenko will face-off against the World No.2
Federer had earlier defeated third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-6 (7-2). The Swiss master broke Tsonga in the second game of the first set cruising to take the set. However, Tsonga gave much more of a fight in the second, taking it to a tie-breaker. It was leveled at 2-2 when Federer won the next five points for match point.
In the other semi-final, Nadal, who was on antibiotics for several days, was level at 3-3 in the first set before losing eight successive games to Davydenko. However, despite the illness he fought on in the second set, winning a game on his serve at 5-1, before breaking Dabydenko. However, the Russian took his third match point and booked his place in the final against Federer.
Nadal conceded that he had thought of retiring from the match, but fought on for the crowd and the tournament. He said, I thought about retiring for a moment. I had no chance to win the match. I knew that after four games, five games.
I felt real bad, but, you know, is difficult for me to go off court. It's not nice for the crowd, not nice for the tournament, not nice for the opponent, too, no? he queried.
Nadal also conceded that he will stay on in Doha to recover and not harm his chances for the Australian Open, which begins on the 17th of January.
I stay here because I have to get healthy before I travel, he said. Going by plane sometimes makes you worse. And at the same time I don't have anything to do right now in Australia.
Davydenko, admitted his surprise by Nadal's lack of stamina. When I played him last year he had good form, he said. Today he felt different. Normally he is tougher and he plays stronger. I don't mean his tennis, I mean physically.
Federer, however, wasn't disappointed and missing out on facing Nadal and said he was looking forward to the showdown against Davydenko.Obviously I'm very excited. It's always nice to start off the year with a final, he said.
I think Nikolay actually has a very good record in finals, and that makes him tough to play in a final. I feel well and I'll definitely have a chance with all my experience and the level I'm playing at right now.