Rafael Nadal is picking up for season 2020 in the same dominance that he ended the 2019 official season. The Spaniard has defeated Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas to win his 5th Mubadla World tennis championship trophy in Abu Dhabi. The tournament featured 6 player who besides Nadal and Tsitsipas were World Number 2 Novak Djokovic, Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev and South Korea’s rising star Hyeon Chung.
The Classic Semifinals
Nadal and Djokovic received a bye in the quarters and thus a direct entry to the semi-final stage. Facing them were Russia’s Karen Khachanov who had downed Korean star Hyeon Chung in the quarters and Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas who had outplayed the other Russian star Andrey Rublev.
In the semis Tsitsipas who won the ATP Finals this year again showed extreme composure to down the World Number 2 Novak Djokovic. The Serbian star took the 1st set and looked poised towards victory. Tsitsipas however would not give up so easily and won the 2nd set in a tie-breaker even after squandering many chances and surrendering a break. In the 3rd set he broke the Djokovic serve in the 7th game and then held his own to book a place for the final.
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Nadal had a fairly smooth run to the final. He dominated Karen Khachanov from start to finish breaking the Russian’s serve twice in both sets. The Spaniard clinched the match 6-1 and 6-3 to face Tsitsipas in the final.
The Epic Final
Mubadala may have been an exhibition tournament but Nadal and Tsitsipas never made tennis fans feel that. The final was by far the best match of the tournament. In the 1st set set secured a break in the 7th game but was not able to serve out the set with Tsitsipas regaining the break after saving the set point. The set would go a a tie breaker and it was the Greek sensation who outplayed the senior pro and took the decisive early lead in the match.
Tsitsipas had put the Nadal serve on pressure from the 1st set onward and would continue to do so in the 2nd set also. The Spaniard known for his extreme resilience kept on fighting to hold his serve. Rafa got break point chance at the fag end of the 2nd set and took them to win that set 7-5 and thus level the match
In the final set Nadal again secured an early break but Tsitsipas would immediately get the break back. Both players kept on holding the serve and the final would be decided by a tie break shoot out. This time however the great Spaniard took the breaker 7 games to 3. The match ended after 3 hours and 12 minutes and Nadal triumphed in Abu Dhabi.