ABU DHABI - World No.1 Novak Djokovic opened his season with an impressive 6-0, 6-3 win over David Ferrer in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament here on Friday.
The Serb, who won here last year, raced away with the first set of the semi-final clash before the Spaniard managed to grab an early break in the second. Ferrer served to go 3-1 up, but could not convert and it was Djokovic who once again took over the reins of what was a low-key match.
After the match, Djokovic told ESPN: "I love this court and the conditions here. I wish all the tournaments in the world were played here. It's definitely a great surface. It's not too warm here, not too cold, it's ideal to prepare on. I am surprised with my game considering it's the first match of the official season. Hopefully I can play another good one tomorrow."
In the final Djokovic will play Spaniard Nicolas Almagro -- a late replacement for Rafael Nadal who postponed his return to action after a six-month injury layoff due to a stomach virus. Almagro defeated Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 in the other semi-final. "Please support me tomorrow because I am going to need it," Almagro told the crowd.
On Thursday, Olympic Games and US Open champion Andy Murray saw his Mubadala World Tennis Championship campaign last just 84 minutes when he slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic.
Tipsarevic, the world number nine, will now face Spain's Nicolas Almagro, who replaced Rafael Nadal in the three-day exhibition tournament, in Friday's semi-finals. "I hit the ball pretty well, it was just the execution of some of my shots wasn't perfect, but that's pretty normal when you have not played a match for a while," said world number three Murray. Tipsarevic added: "I am happy with my game. I know it is an exhibition game but to play a Grand Slam champion and an Olympic Games gold medal winner and win, I am just delighted. "I hope to get two more victories and that would be great going into the Australian Open."
David Ferrer also reached the semi-finals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.