Mubadala World Championship: Andy Murray beats Rafael Nadal in straight sets

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Murray beat a returning Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the Mubadala World Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Nadal, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, was making his comeback after a six-month absence following a foot injury.

The sixth-ranked Nadal fell to Murray 6-3, 7-5. He’s scheduled to face Denis Shapovalov for third place.

The 35-year-old Spaniard plans to play an ATP tournament in Melbourne early in the new year before the Australian Open begins Jan. 17.

"I know it’s going to be super difficult for me," Nadal said on Thursday about his Australian Open prospects.

With two matches in Abu Dhabi and the Melbourne warmup, he said, "the amount of hours on court at the competitive level before such a tough and demanding tournament like Australia will be not much.

"But the main thing is still always the same — is to be healthy," he continued. "If I am healthy, I still have the interior fire to keep going and to fight for my goals."

Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are tied with a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles each.

Additional reporting from AP

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