A shaky start from World No. 1 Rafael Nadal combined with a very confident performance from German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk meant the Spaniard had to fight back from a set down to deny the World No. 162 in just under two hours, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. In the form of his life Gojowczyk lead the only seed left in the tournament 3-0, before Nadal pulled it back to 3-3, but he couldn’t resist the confident tennis from the German who took the set 6-4. Nadal soon got into gear and raced into a 4-0 lead in the second set, a deficit which Gojowczyk could not recover from, and then went up an early break in the deciding set, the German broke back but a total of 35 unforced errors in the match lead to his undoing as he lost the third set 6-3.
The very expressive and entertaining Frenchman Gael Monfils produced a dominating display in the second semi-final to defeat the in-form German Florian Mayer in just 55 minutes. The World No. 31 had a 4-0 Head 2 Head record coming into the match but both players struggled on serve in the opening set, Monfils hit just 2 aces and served 3 double faults, while Mayer who had served so impressively during the week faced 8 break points, and capitalising on 2 was enough for Monfils who took the set 6-3. The Frenchman grew in confidence on serve and produced an unstoppable array of shots to race into a 4-0 lead, making 91% of his first serves in and firing down 7 aces to win the second set 6-2.
Looking ahead to what should be a cracking final tomorrow, Nadal has an 8-2 Head 2 Head record in his favour against the Frenchman, but these two last met here in Doha two years ago at the semi-final stage with Monfils winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. If Monfils can produce a performance like he did in the second set today where he is very solid on serve and aggressive, then like Gojowczyk, he could really trouble Nadal and potentially win the Qatar Open for the first time in what will be his 3rd appearance in the final.