Abu Dhabi - Rafael Nadal shook off an ailing shoulder to beat Roger Federer 6-1, 7-5 on Saturday to claim third place at the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament.
The second-ranked Nadal has been nursing a sore left shoulder since the end of last season and was routed by David Ferrer in the semi-finals on Friday, but looked back to his old self against Federer. He took a 3-0 lead in the first and was never seriously threatened by his Swiss rival, who was badly beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Djokovic faces Ferrer in the final later on Saturday.
The third-ranked Federer struggled with unforced errors and an inconsistent serve, but put up a harder fight in the second set until Nadal clinched the win with a blistering forehand into the corner.
"It was a positive match," said Nadal, who plans to take a break after the Australian Open to rest his shoulder. "I played better than yesterday and that was the most important."
Federer downplayed the two losses this week, insisting he was feeling good and that the time on the court will serve him well ahead of the first tournament of the new ATP season, in Doha Qatar next week.
"It's about getting ready and feeling fine out there and enjoying a great atmosphere here and having the chance to play world class players," Federer said. "Trying a few things, see where you are at and see where the other guys are at. Obviously, I could tell Novak and Rafa are playing really well. That is not a surprise to me. I expected them to be in good shape for next year and they proved that to me this weekend."
The $250 000 winner-takes-all six-man tournament is a warm-up for the new ATP season.