Mubadala WTC: Rafael Nadal storms over Karen Khachanov to set Tsitsipas clash



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Mubadala WTC: Rafael Nadal storms over Karen Khachanov to set Tsitsipas clash

World no. 1 Rafael Nadal and the four-time Mubadala World Tennis Championship will have a chance to fight for the fifth trophy in the desert, defeating Karen Khachanov 6-1, 6-3. Rafa was on a different level in comparison to the Russian who didn't enjoy a great season despite staying in the top-20, with the Spaniard who dominated from start to finish and marched into the final where he plays against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday.

Controlling the pace of his shots nicely, the 19-time Major champion held everything under control on both serve and return, keeping the points on his racquet and crumbling the opponent with a perfect mixture of defensive tennis and well-arranged net rushings.

Nadal had to dig deep on serve in the third game, fending off break chances and bringing it home after a service winner for a 2-1. There were drama and excitement in the next game as well, with Khachanov wasting plenty of game points and suffering a break after a double fault to propel Rafa in front.

With the momentum on his side, Nadal grabbed another break in the sixth game when Khachanov sprayed a forehand error, closing the opening set with a hold in the next game for a 6-1 after 41 minutes. Karen had a chance to open the second set with hold but it wasn't to be for him, squandering game points and allowing Nadal to grab a break with a smash winner.

The Spaniard landed a volley winner in the second game to cement the advantage, holding at love in game four with another well-placed serve and extending the gap to 4-1 with another volley winner. Serving at 4-3, Rafa erased a break point with another perfect volley at the net, delivering a break in the next game that pushed him over the top, looking good to become the record holder with five Mubadala WTC trophies tomorrow.