The world number two was famously beaten by his Swedish opponent at the French Open last year but the Spaniard efficiently overcame the 25-year-old in straight sets.
Before the final Nadal had described the Abu Dhabi event as the “perfect preparation” for the new ATP season which gets underway in Doha next week.
Speaking after his victory, the 23-year-old described his delight at sealing his first piece of silverware of 2010.
“I’m very happy, I played a very good match,” he said. “I think Robin right now is one of the most difficult players on the tour to play against.
“This is a very important win for me. I’m playing my best ever on court, probably since Roland Garros last year.”
And the Spaniard remained upbeat as he looked ahead to the forthcoming season.
“I’ve worked very hard and it’s nice to start the season. If I still play at this level, I think I have the chance to do good things.”
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BIOGRAPHY: Marcus Rashford