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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Top-ranked Novak Djokovic routed David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3 on Friday to reach the final of the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament.
Djokovic will face Spain's Nicolas Almagro in the final. A last-minute replacement for Rafael Nadal, Almagro rallied from a set down to beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the second semifinal.
Nadal announced Friday that a stomach virus will keep him out of the Australian Open.
Looking for a strong start to the 2013 season, Djokovic wrapped up the first set in only 26 minutes. He struggled early on in the second as Ferrer broke the defending champion to go up 2-1.
But Djokovic broke back courtesy of a delicate drop shot and several crisp winners to make it 2-2. He then broke the fifth-ranked Spaniard a second time to go up 4-2 on the way to an easy victory.
"I am definitely surprised with my game, considering the fact that this is the first match of the official season for me," Djokovic said.
"This is a great surface when preparing for Australia," he said. "We love it here. We come days before to practice and to enjoy the beautiful weather. So many Serbian flags in the crowd ... It is definitely encouraging for me. And I am definitely trying to get as much positive energy from the people."
Ferrer, who lost in the final last year to Djokovic and is set to open his season in Doha next week, credited the Serb with one of his trademark dominant performances.
"He has all the shots. Novak is playing very consistent, he is in a very good moment now, very confident," Ferrer said. "I am OK, trying every game, every match. Of course, I will try to improve. Sometimes you play some matches better, some are worse. Of course, I did not play well today. But I have to be positive."