Söderling swept past world number one Roger Federer in the semi-finals only to be beaten by Nadal in the finals.
Throughout the first set, both players held serve before Nadal won the tiebreaker. During the second set, Nadal ended the match against the Swedish tennis star in the sixth game 7-6 (3), 7-5.
Nadal, whose last win came in May last year, said, “It’s very important to start the season on a winning note and because I haven’t won a tournament for over six months.”
Despite the stormy relationship of the two players in the past, Nadal still paid tribute to Söderling saying, “He’s a good competitor and has a lot of potential. It’s normal that he should be in the world top 10.”
It is noteworthy that last year, Söderling gave Nadal his worst loss by ending the Spaniard’s reign on clay at the French Open. He bested Nadal again at the season-ending ATP Tour World Finals in London.
Federer came to third place after beating Spain’s David Ferrer.
Asked when wants to overtake Federer in the rankings, Nadal said, “Everybody wants the No. 1 ranking, but, believe me, for me it is not my goal for this year.” He added, “To play competitively throughout and win as many tournaments as I can, that is my goal. To be happy playing, to be healthy and to play like I have played over the last two days.”
Nadal will head to nearby Doha for the opening of the regular season where he will meet Federer. Söderling, on the other hand, will next play in India’s ATP Chennai Open where he is the top seed.