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

 

Doha

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
News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor