World number six Tomas Berdych has predicted his contest with Spain's David Ferrer will be one to watch at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi later this month.
The two players experienced contrasting emotions at last month's Davis Cup final. Radek Stepanek was the hero as the Czech Republic won their first-ever title.
Ferrer won his personal duel with Berdych to draw Spain level at 2-2 and give them hope going into the decider. However, his 6-2 6-3 7-5 win was in vain as Spain missed out on a fourth title in five years.
Despite the defeat by Ferrer, Berdych enjoyed his best season on the ATP circuit. As well as the Davis Cup triumph, he lifted titles in Montpellier and Stockholm, and reached the final of the Masters event in Madrid. He also won the Hopman Cup for the Czech Republic with compatriot Petra Kvitova.
The 27-year-old will look to build on an encouraging 2012 next season. That will all begin when he resumes his rivalry with Ferrer on December 27.
"I'm at six in the world and he's at five. We've played nine times now and I've won three. It's always close and the crowd in Abu Dhabi will be in for a great game," Berdych said.
The Czech returns to the Emirates for his second exhibition tournament, having featured in the January 2011 event. Should he beat Ferrer in the opener, Berdych would face world number one Novak Djokovic in the last four on December 28.
US Open champion Andy Murray will battle with Janko Tipsarevic on the opening day for the right to face the returning Rafael Nadal, who this week played down his chances of making an immediate impact on his return.
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