Nadal begins the ATP season as second seed to Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal dispatched Robin Soderling 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 to clinch the Capitala World Tennis Championship exhibition title in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Soderling, who beat Roger Federer to reach the final, had two set points in the first set but lost the tie-break.
The Swede tired in the second set but saved three match points before Spaniard Nadal finished him off.
Nadal earlier hailed the event as the "perfect preparation" for Doha, where the ATP season begins next week.
But it was Soderling, who beat Nadal in their two previous ATP Tour meetings, who began the more aggressive in the opening set.
Nadal saved two set points before forcing a tie-break, which he comfortably won 7-3 on the back of strong defensive work.
Soderling came back from a break down to level the second set at 4-4, then rescued three match points two games later with an angled volley to get to 5-5.
But Nadal was by now well on top and wore down Soderling's resistance to begin 2010 with a title.
"I'm very happy, I played a very good match," said the world number two. "I think Robin right now is one of the most difficult players on the tour to play against.
"This is a very important win for me. I'm playing my best ever on court, probably since Roland Garros last year.
"I've worked very hard and it's nice to start the season like I did. If I still play at this level, I think I have the chance to do good things."
Federer earlier bounced back from the disappointment of losing to Soderling to beat David Ferrer 6-1 7-5 and take third place in the tournament.