MWTC Day 3 Live: Rafael Nadal tames the Milos Raonic serve to win title

The Spaniard starts the year on a winning note with a third Mubadala World Tennis Championship crown in Abu Dhabi.

Rafael Nadal defeated Milos Raonic to win his third Mubadala World Tennis Championship title.  Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National
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Match updates from the final day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // Rafael Nadal is off to a winning start in 2016, beating big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in 7-6(2), 6-3 to clinch the Mubadala World Tennis Championship crown on Saturday night.

The world No 5, who has been on the mend since the US Open after struggling with his confidence in the first nine months of 2015, clinched the 54-minute first set 7-2 in the tie-break. He then broke Raonic in the fourth game of the second set to take charge and wrapped up the match in 90 minutes.

This is Nadal’s first Mubadala title since winning two on the trot in 2010 and 2011. Losing to Andy Murray in the final of the inaugural edition in 2009, the Spaniard beat Robin Soderling in the final 12 months later and then defended his title against Roger Federer in January, 2011.

‘5-2 curse’ strikes again for Stan Wawrinka

It is a probably a trigger point, for 5-2 on the scoreboard seems to do funny things to Stan Wawrinka.

On Friday night, the reigning French Open champion was leading 5-2 in the first set against Canadian Milos Raonic when he imploded, losing five games in a row and then the semi-final 7-5, 7-5.

On Saturday evening, Wawrinka found himself trailing 2-5 in the opening set against David Ferrer and, this time, the Swiss staged a remarkable recovery himself, winning the next four games on the trot. He did drop his serve serving for the set, but faced few problems in the tie-break, winning 7-1.

Ferrer took the second set, forcing the third-place playoff into super tie-break and Wawrinka was cruising until 5-2 happened. There was another twist in the tale as Ferrer won 10 of the last 13 points in that tie-break to edge the match 6-7(1), 6-4, 10-8 in an hour and 28 minutes.

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