The world no. 1 Novak Djokovic has become the most successful player in the history of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, defeating the last year's winner Kevin Anderson 4-6 7-5 7-5 to wrap up his fourth title here and join Rafael Nadal who has also celebrated four times in Abu Dhabi.
It was the match of the tournament and a great clash of top-six rivals, pushing each other to the limits in the last test before they kick off the official season next week in Doha and Pune. 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.
Novak found his rhythm right from the start, serving with power and efficiency and dominating in the opening four service games to keep the pressure on Kevin. The South African saved a break point with a service winner in game four to hang in and he secured a break in the ninth game after a forehand winner, moving 5-4 ahead and taking the set with another good serve in the following game.
Djokovic quickly left the opening set behind him, dominating in his games in set number two to mount the pressure on the other side of the net. 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.
Motivated to overpower a great rival and defend the title, Anderson fought great in the final set, rattling off one good hold after another and creating a break point at 1-1 that could have been crucial. Novak fends it off to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard and he had the edge in the closing stages of the match, pushing his rival to the limits in games 10 and 12 before he converted the fifth match point after a stunning point to secure his fourth Mubadala WTC title. Final result:
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4-6 7-5 7-5