Rafael Nadal looks to compound Novak Djokovic's pain in Qatar Open final

1 Rafael Nadal will meet current #1 Novak Djokovic in the finals of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open tonight, the 9 of January, with both the Spaniard and the Serb attempting to go ahead of the other in their head-to-head record as they play each other for the 47 time.

Earlier on Friday, Nadal also won in two sets, but in a more straightforward fashion, beating Ukraine's Illya Marchenko 6-3, 6-4 in little over an hour. - Screen grab off Reuters videoMELBOURNE, Jan 11 - Finally clinching an elusive Australian Open crown is Andy Murray's number one goal for the new year but the Briton concedes that his hopes of success at Melbourne Park may rest on champion Novak Djokovic having an off-day.

"So he's one of the best players in the history of the game for a reason, and I'm sure that after last year's season that was not up to his standards, he's willing to do something else and improve his game".

Nadal was powerless to stop Djokovic as he watched 16 winners fly past him in the opening set. "I'm very excited to be back in the final - it's special playing Milos again tomorrow", Federer said.

The last time the Serbian failed to reach a tournament final was when he lost in the quarterfinals in last year's Qatar Open.

So Nadal knew only too well that he had a fight on his hands in this his 99th final, and that was without looking at his hard-court title run. I managed to get every shot the way I wanted it, the way I imagined it before the match. I don't know anyone playing tennis like this ever. Even before that match, Djokovic had won four straight.

The Czech put up more resistance in the second set, but Djokovic was the steadier player in the tiebreaker to wrap up his 22nd victory over Berdych in 24 career matches.

Throughout the week in Qatar he did not drop a set and his victory means he won the only tournament in which he didn't make the final in 2015.

Nadal won 100 per cent of all his first service points in the first set, 89 per cent overall and gave up only one break point, which he held.

He also fired six aces and hit 16 winners.

"I'm ready for the competition", Djokovic said. Another rally in the fifth game resulted in another break in favour of Djokovic and he was already 4-1 up.

World number one Djokovic progressed through to Saturday's final after overcoming Tomas Berdych in a bruising encounter, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3). How can I go against Djokovic?

"I just came out on the court with the right intention, with the right intensity and with a great deal of confidence, as well, that I carried from the last season playing against him in the last couple of matches".

More than a dozen tourists dead in Japan ski resort bus crash
The bus was carrying 41 people, including two drivers, when the accident occurred about 2.5k south of Karuizawa station. Japan in recent years has seen several high-profile bus accidents, some blamed on drivers falling asleep at the wheel.