Doha, Qatar (AP) – Rafael Nadal reached the final of the Qatar Open on Friday by coming from behind to beat German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Nadal is looking for his first title in Doha and will face Gael Monfils of France, who only needed 55 minutes to dispatch Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3, 6-2 in the other semifinal.
"I'm in the final," Nadal said. "That (will) probably give me a little bit more confidence, a little bit more rhythm."
I tried to change a little bit and tried to be positive for the rest of the match, because the tennis was not there today.
Nadal lost the first three games against the 162nd-ranked Gojowczyk but came back to level the first set before losing serve again in the 10th game.
The top-ranked Spaniard then raced to a 4-1 lead in the second and broke Gojowczyk's in the third game of the decider after two forehand errors by the German.
"We'll see if I am able to make (changes) tomorrow to play a little bit better," Nadal said.
The 31st-ranked Monfils hasn't dropped a set all week but has only won twice against Nadal in 10 previous meetings. However, both those victories came here in Doha — in the 2009 quarterfinals and the 2012 semifinals.
This will be Monfils' third appearance in the Doha final — he lost to Roger Federer in 2006 and to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2012.
"It means a lot to be in the final again," Monfils said. "I have one match to go. I'll be ready for it."
Gojowczyk had only won one career tour-level match — at the 2013 U.S. Open — before this tournament, but still managed to bother Nadal in the first set. Nadal's forehand improved in the second, however, and his opponent couldn't keep up after that.
"I tried to change a little bit and tried to be positive for the rest of the match, because the tennis was not there today," Nadal said of his mindset after losing the first set. "Even if he was playing great, when the opponent is playing too comfortable (it) is because I'm doing something bad. ... Without playing my best, I was able to find solution."