Djokovic ready for new season after Abu Dhabi triumph

Djokovic ready for new season after Abu Dhabi triumph

Djokovic ready for new season after Abu Dhabi triumph

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. A forehand victor and two aces the first on his second serve, was enough for the world number six, Anderson to win his next service game.

"It was one of the best match points I have ever played", he said.

Looking to win the tournament for a second successive year, defending champion Anderson claimed the opening set thanks to a break of serve in the ninth game. "I am grateful that this season has taught me a lot about myself as a tennis player and as a person".

"Being honest, I'm satisfied the way I was playing tennis". "If you play bad, even if you are 11 or 35 you will not go deep you know".

Nadal admitted that he needed to take it game by game on his comeback, and suggested he would not be pressured into pushing his body too much.

"[I'm] definitely pleased to win today and looking forward to the season".

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In Friday's first match to decide fifth and sixth places, ATP-ranked no.25, South Korea's Hyeon Chung easily overcame ATP-ranked no.8 Dominic Thiem of Austria in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 to finish fifth in the tournament, in a match that lasted 1 hour and 9 minutes.

The former world number one spent the off-season training in the heat of Miami to prepare for what can be gruelling conditions in Brisbane and then Melbourne.

Djokovic has lost just three times in the last six months, but all three defeats came against players aged 22 and under (Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto, Karen Khachanov in Paris, and Alexander Zverev in London at the World Tour Finals).

"Feels great to back on court and I need to take step by step after the surgery and that takes a bit of time". Honestly this is a flawless way to start the season.

"For me, it's going to be a big challenge and a big ask to stay at such a high level", he said.

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