Rafael Nadal avoids a shock against autograph-hunting German Peter Gojowczyk



When Peter Gojowczyk, the world No 162, won 12 of the first 13 points of his Qatar ExxonMobile Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal here last night nervous statisticians were probably starting to thumb through their record books, wondering when the Spaniard had last lost to an opponent more lowly-ranked than the 24-year-old German.

The answer was October 2006, when Nadal was beaten by Joachim Johansson, then the world No 690, in an indoor tournament in Stockholm. Unfortunately for Gojowczyk, however, his place in history will have to wait. Nadal, recovering from the shock of going 0-3 down in the face of the German’s opening onslaught, recovered to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the 86th final of his career, although he played well below his best.

Gael Monfils, who crushed Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-2, will have the task of trying to prevent Nadal from claiming the 61st title of his career this evening. The Frenchman has beaten the Spaniard only twice in 10 meetings, but both of those victories were on this court, in the 2009 quarter-finals and 2012 semi-finals. It will be the world No 31’s third appearance in the final here following his defeats to Roger Federer in 2006 and to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2012.

Gojowczyk, who is the German No 12, had to win three matches in qualifying just to reach the main draw here. When he played in a Grand Slam tournament for only the second time in his life at the US Open last summer he actually asked Nadal for his autograph.

The German made a stunning start, his crunching ground strokes keeping Nadal on the back foot. Even after Nadal had levelled at 3-3 the world No 1’s problems were not over. When he served at 4-5 and deuce, a double fault and a mishit forehand handed Gojowczyk the first set.

However, no current player holds his nerve like the Spaniard, who promptly won the first four games of the second set. Having been forced on the defensive by Gojowczyk’s power at the start, the Spaniard worked his way back into the match by playing a more attacking game.

Gojowczyk recovered a break of serve at the start of the decider, but Nadal broke again to lead 2-1 and eventually secured victory with his sixth break of the match. On cracking a winning forehand into the corner the Spaniard punched the air in delight.

Nadal admitted afterwards that he had not played well but added: “The positive thing is that I am in the final in the first week of the season without arriving here with big preparation. Without playing my best, I was able to find a solution. It’s true that I finished the match playing better than I started. That’s always a positive thing. It means that mentally I was prepared to find solutions.”

Suggested Topics
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own