Defending champion Kevin Anderson to return to Abu Dhabi exhibition

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Defending champion Kevin Anderson to return to Abu Dhabi exhibition

Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson will start his 2019 season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, the tournament announced on Monday. The 32-year-old is set to make his third appearance at the Abu Dhabi exhibition -- which is due to take place from 27-29 December.

Anderson, ranked at No. 8 in the world, debuted in Abu Dhabi two years ago. Back then, the South-African's debut didn't go as planned as he lost to 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic in his Abu Dhabi opener -- before losing to Spain's Feliciano Lopez.

However, the 32-year-old put up a much better campaign in his second Abu Dhabi appearance as he won it all at the tournament's last edition. Anderson beat 2017 US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta in the Abu Dhabi quarter-final and this year's French Open runner-up Dominic Thiem to reach the final -- where he beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

The South-African put up a dominant campaign at the popular exhibition as he didn't drop a single set in his three matches played. The Abu Dhabi exhibition proved to be exactly what Anderson needed before his first ATP tournament of the season.

The South-African continued his fine form at the Tata Open Maharashtra in the opening week of the season -- but fell just short of winning it all as he ended runner-up to French Gilles Simon in the Pune final. 14-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and former world No.

1 Venus Williams have been previously confirmed by the tournament. Reportedly, Russian rising star Karen Khachanov will also play at the Abu Dhabi exhibition Also read: Alexander Zverev: Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world now