Rafael Nadal warmed up for his mouth-watering semi-final against Novak Djokovic with an enthralling 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4 win over David Ferrer at the ATP World Tour Finals.
There was little riding on the outcome of Friday's encounter with Nadal guaranteed top spot in Group Ilie Nastase and Ferrer eliminated, but the two Spaniards are noted for their ferocious competiveness and put on an entertaining contest for an appreciative O2 Arena.
Ferrer's never-say-die attitude saw him rebound from 3-0 down in the first set, yet Nadal ultimately broke his compatriot's resolve with some scintillating tennis and he will now attempt to snap a three-match losing streak against world number one Djokovic in the semis.
Having been outplayed by Nadal's trademark fierce forehands and baseline dominance in the early stages, Ferrer recovered with some aggressive tactics and pin-point shots to rally from a double-break deficit to level at 3-3.
The momentum appeared back in Nadal's favour when he capitalised on some sloppy errors to go a break up at 6-5, only for Ferrer to hit back on his fifth break point in a lengthy 12th game and he clinched the set after an error-strewn tie-break from Nadal.
The beginning of the second set went with serve, but while Nadal started to race through service games Ferrer's got longer - including an entertaining 26-shot rally in game six - leading to Nadal making the crucial breakthrough with an impeccable backhand for a 5-3 lead.
It was a similar story in the decider with Ferrer clinging on and he staved off five break points in an opening game lasting 14 minutes.
But, as he has so often in his brilliant career, Nadal stepped up when it mattered and he hit two exquisite forehand winners when breaking in game nine, before Nadal ended a mammoth match lasting two hours and 37 minutes with a typically entertaining exchange.
Nadal  bt Ferrer 
Ferrer - 6
Nadal - 1
BREAK POINTS WON
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Ferrer - 63
Nadal - 63
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Ferrer - 92
Nadal - 107