Anderson stuns Nadal, sets up Djokovic final

Anderson stuns Nadal, sets up Djokovic final

Anderson stuns Nadal, sets up Djokovic final

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.

Djokovic extended his dominance over Anderson, the 2017 Mubadala champion, whose only victory in 10 matches against the Serb came a decade ago in Miami. 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 noted that he was not expecting the star to serve in the way he did. Both players showed high-quality tennis, keeping the focus for two hours and giving the crowd something to cheer about in the last match of the 11th edition of this great tournament that once again gathered the best players in the world. "I am grateful that this season has taught me a lot about myself as a tennis player and as a person". "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 could feel the tension between us, two great competitors.

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

"I'm in a better place than I was a few months ago".

The 31-year-old Serb is now six Majors behind Federer and three adrift of Rafael Nadal, but is likely to keep up the pressure on his rivals this upcoming season considering how he recaptured his dominating form in the second half of 2018.

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.

"He is coming back from injury like I am, so we are kind of in the same situation, " said Tsonga, who enters the tournament on an injury-protected ranking. "The season just started for me, it was a goal to be here".

"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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