(CNN) -- World number four Andy Murray's preparations for the new season gained momentum in Abu Dhabi on Thursday as he beat world number two Roger Federer in three sets to reach the final of the World Tennis Championship.
Murray's Abu Dhabi victory over Roger Federer was his fifth in their last seven mettings.
The Briton recovered from the loss of the opening set to dominate his illustrious Swiss opponent, eventually securing a 4-6 6-2 7-6 victory -- Murray's fifth in the pair's last seven meetings.
Murray will now face world number one Rafael Nadal in the final.
The Spaniard showed he is already in top form, despite the season not yet up and running, as he comfortably cruised past Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 6-3.
Davydenko started in brilliant fashion by breaking Nadal in the first game without giving him a single point. But Nadal regrouped and completely dominated the Russian to take the first set.
In the second set, Davydenko broke Nadal in the first game again, but the reigning French and Wimbledon champion broke right back. Another break in the sixth game and it was all over for Davydenko.
Murray had looked home and dry at 4-1 in the deciding set and then 6-3 in the tie-break but was made to battle all the way before Federer struck a forehand long to seal his fate.
An initially sluggish Murray was broken in his first service game and then failed to convert his own break point as the Swiss raced 3-0 ahead.
But Murray bounced back to break Federer with a series of punishing shots from the baseline as he began to look comfortable in the Zayed Sports City arena where he hammered James Blake on Thursday.
However, with both men playing at a subdued pace in what is a pre-season warm-up before the campaign proper begins next week, Federer took the first set 6-4 after Murray double-faulted on set point.
The Scot broke immediately in the second set and then repeated the feat to eventually take it 6-2. Murray was well on top and took the Federer serve twice to claim a 4-1 lead in the decider, but he missed an easy volley which would have made it a triple break and Federer hit back spectacularly to force a tie break.
But Murray kept his cool to set up a meeting with Nadal in Saturday's final, when the victor will walk away with $250,000.
Murray appeared to be suffering pain in his back at several points during the match but he insisted it should not hamper his preparations for the Australian Open which begins on January 19.
"I think it's just that I haven't played a match in six or seven weeks. Today was pretty physical, I did a lot of running, so I'm sure it's just a bit stiff," he told Sky Sports.
Murray added: "Every time you play Roger it's a great challenge, we've had a lot of close matches in the past. I've got the better of him on a few occasions but in the big one we played, at the U.S. Open final, he beat me pretty badly. Hopefully I'll maybe get him in a Grand Slam one day."