World number one, Novak Djokovic equalled Rafael Nadal's record of four titles at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship with a hard-fought 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over South African world number six, Kevin Anderson. The South African saved a break point with a service victor in game four to hang in and he secured a break in the ninth game after a forehand victor, moving 5-4 ahead and taking the set with another good serve in the following game.
Anderson was on the same level with Novak in the opening 11 games but he failed to secure the tie break, getting broken at 15 following a forehand error while serving to stay in the set at 5-6, handing this part of the match to Djokovic who was now the favorite in the decider. "For me, tennis is more of a platform now for other things - for the values that I want to share and the messages that I want to give out to the young generation". "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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"It was one of the best match points I have ever played", he said. It helps your confidence and adds to your mental strength.
"Men's tennis is as good as it can be in terms of competition, in terms of personalities, it's good to see new faces", he said after his fourth title victory on Saturday in the UAE capital. The contest went on serve in the second set until Thiem broke the Khachanov in the ninth game and comfortably held serve to take the set 6-4. I played three good matches and it is always a great way to start the new season.
"Like I said a couple of days ago in Abu-Dhabi, for me is important to keeping doing steps forward not making steps back".
Earlier in the day, Russia's Karen Khachanov won the third-place match 6-3 4-6 10-3 over Austrian Dominik Thiem, who stepped in for Nadal after the Spaniard made a decision to skip the contest to avoid aggravating an injury ahead of the Australian Open.
The Serb takes on either Russian Karen Khachanov or Dominic Thiem of Austria in Abu Dhabi on Friday and officially kicks off his 2019 season at the Qatar Open in Doha next week.
"Feels great to back on court and I need to take step by step after the surgery and that takes a bit of time".