Doha, Qatar (SportsNetwork.com) - World No. 1 superstar Rafael Nadal will battle former top-10 player Gael Monfils in Saturday's final at the $1 million season-opening Qatar Open.
The reigning U.S. and French Open titlist Nadal stunningly dropped the first set Friday against little-known 162nd-ranked German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk before charging back for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 semifinal victory in just under two hours on the hardcourts at Khalifa International Tennis Complex. Nadal improved to 75-1 lifetime against qualifiers.
Nadal, who is now 13th on the ATP's all-time list with 662 match wins, was the Doha runner-up back in 2010.
The 27-year-old is 60-25 in his career ATP World Tour Finals, including a tour-best 10 titles last year.
Meanwhile, the oft-injured acrobatic Frenchman Monfils setup a date with Nadal by handling capable German Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-2 in the other semi at this Australian Open tune-up.
Monfils was a Doha runner-up two years ago.
The 27-year-old Monfils is a disappointing 4-15 in his career finals and hasn't titled on tour since 2011.
Nadal is 8-2 lifetime against the 6-foot-4 Monfils, but the Frenchman is 2-0 in their career meetings in Doha, a quarterfinal in 2009 and semifinal in 2012.
Saturday's winner will pocket $188,600.