By Andy Sambidge
Russian tennis star survives match points against Nadal to win Qatar Open title.
Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko came back from a first set thumping to record a three-set win against world number two Rafael Nadal of Spain to bag the Qatar Open title.
After being crushed in the first set, 27-year-old Davydenko saved match points twice in the second set to post a 0-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 victory and land the top prize of $183,000.
Ranked sixth in the world, Davydenko beat Federer and Nadal at the World Tour finals in London less than two months ago and repeated the trick in Doha to seal the win.
He said: “I was just fighting. I didn’t think I could win. For every point I was fighting. And at the end it was just amazing.”
It was Davydenko’s 20th career title and also his second successive one after the Russian’s impressive win at the World Tour finals in London in November.
Nadal was also happy with his form, having won an exhibition series final in Abu Dhabi last week before reaching the Doha final.
“In this tournament, I came back to play my best tennis for a long time,” Nadal said. “Anyway I lost today. He played unbelievable tennis — he was just better,” he added.