Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball against Illya Marchenko of Ukraine at the Qatar Open 2016 semifinals, Doha, Qatar, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexandra Panagiotidou)
Alexandra Panagiotidou
January 08, 2016

DOHA, Qatar (AP) Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will break their 23-23 head-to-head record when they meet for the 47th time in the Qatar Open final Saturday.

Top-seeded Djokovic beat third-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-6 (3) to reach his 16th consecutive final Friday.

The last time the Serbian failed to reach a tournament final was when he lost in the quarterfinals in last year's Qatar Open.

''I'm very proud of the achievement and this particular stat, but I try not to think about what would happen if I would lose and not get to the final,'' Djokovic said. ''I try to keep an optimistic approach to every match and every tournament.''

''This is exactly how I want to start the year, getting to the final in the first tournament of the year, against one of my biggest rivals.''

Nadal advanced to his career 99th final after defeating Illya Marchenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4.

''I'm happy with the victory, being in the first final of the season in the first official tournament is something great,'' Nadal said. ''The most important thing is if you feel yourself that every time you go on court you are competitive against everybody and you have your chances.''

Djokovic won all four of their 2015 meetings without dropping a set. The last time Nadal defeated Djokovic was the 2014 French Open final.

It will be the Spaniard's first final in 18 hard court tournaments since he won the 2014 Qatar Open title.

Nadal has won 67 career titles, including 14 grand slams.

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