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No. 1 Nadal faces old foe Federer in pre-season showdown

Rafael Nadal is seeking to defend his title in Abu Dhabi, while Roger Federer has bounced back after losing in last year's semis.
Rafael Nadal is seeking to defend his title in Abu Dhabi, while Roger Federer has bounced back after losing in last year's semis.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The world's top-two tennis players will clash in final of Abu Dhabi exhibition event
  • No. 1 Rafael Nadal beats Tomas Berdych in rematch of 2010 Wimbledon final
  • Spaniard is defending his title ahead of the official start to the 2011 season
  • Roger Federer battles past Robin Soderling, who he beat in 2009 French Open final
RELATED TOPICS
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Roger Federer
  • Tennis
  • Abu Dhabi

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will resume their rivalry on the opening day of 2011 after winning through to the final of an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

World No. 2 Federer battled past Robin Soderling in three sets on Friday before top-ranked Nadal defeated Tomas Berdych in a routine manner to set up a pre-season showdown on Saturday.

Nadal, beaten by Federer in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in November, crushed his Czech opponent 6-4 6-4 in a repeat of the 2010 Wimbledon final.

The Spaniard, defending his title after beating Soderling in the final at the start of 2010, led 4-1 in the second set before world No. 6 Berdych battled back to close the gap.

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Federer has lost only once to Soderling in 16 tournament matches, but had to come from a set down before beating the world No. 5 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-3 to avenge his defeat to the Swede last year.

Nadal has a 14-8 advantage over Federer in competitive encounters, and the duo shared the spoils in two charity exhibitions earlier this month.

Soderling reached the semifinals with a victory over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday, while Berdych was also taken to three sets as he defeated Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.

The tournament is a warm-up for the new season, which begins in Australia next week.

American Andy Roddick will defend his ATP Tour title in Brisbane in one of several tournaments leading up to the Australian Open starting on January 17.

Federer is the grand slam's defending champion, and will be seeking to stop Nadal's bid to hold all four major tennis titles.