Rafael Nadal was delighted to hit the ground running in 2016 with a three-set victory over David Ferrer at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.
Nadal will face Milos Raonic in the final of the three-day exhibition event after prevailing 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 against fellow Spaniard Ferrer on Friday.
"It was a great match," said Nadal. "The first match of the season and the rhythm and the intensity of the game is like after six months of the season.
"I thought we both played a great match, and I think both of us were happy with the way that we played.
"I am happy with the way that we moved and the way that we competed. We tried our best and I think people enjoyed it. We played some great points and for me that was important so start with a victory.
"Tomorrow [Saturday] I get the chance to play again which I am excited about. I am playing much better now and I am feeling good on court. I am just happy with the way I played in all aspects and I just need to keep going."
Raonic defeated Stan Wawrinka 7-5 7-5 in Friday's other semi-final, while Feliciano Lopez claimed fifth place by winning two tie-breaks against Kevin Anderson.