Novak Djokovic Wins Fourth Mubadala Title; Equals Rafael Nadal's Record

01 January, 2019, 15:25 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Novak Djokovic with the Mubadala championship trophy

While the Serbian brushed aside the challenge of ATP-ranked no.11 Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 in the second semi-final, to storm into the final, there was a shock result in store in the first semi, with the South African Anderson stunning the World No.2 Rafael Nadal in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic and South Africa's Kevin Anderson pose at the end of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship 2018 in Abu Dhabi, on December 29, 2018. However the first breakthrough came in the ninth game, which saw Anderson breaking Nadal's serve to take a 5-4 lead, which he defended well in the final game, winning it easily 40-0, to take the set 6-4 and the match to progress into the final. Atmosphere heated up on an nearly fully packed Centre Court when the 31-year-old Serbian pushed the match the distance with a break in the 12th game of the second set.

"It was one of the best match points I have ever played", he said. "I am grateful that this season has taught me a lot about myself as a tennis player and as a person".

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"I feel I am not prioritizing success on the tennis court for the sake of success only as I used to do probably until about five years ago", Djokovic said. He wanted to win as much as I did. "I think we had some nice and exciting rallies". There are a few things here and there that I need to work on but pleased with the quality of my game throughout the tournament. Had a few in-roads in his serve game, but couldn't afford to lose my serve games, added the South African. "It's important to be doing the steps forward, not take a step back". "I can not thank enough the tournament organization for the understanding", Nadal said, adding that he aims to reach optimum form in time for the Australian Open, which begins on January 14. I was happy with my game tonight and I can leave with a ton of positives.

Nadal's 2018 season was impacted by injury, with the 17-time grand slam champion completing just one hard-court tournament, while he missed the ATP Finals with an abdominal complaint.

Thiem, who Khachanov had beaten in Thursday's quarter-final clash, was called up as a replacement and the 22 year old beat the world No 8 for the second time in three days.

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