Nadal to skip 3rd-place match at Mubadala

Nadal to skip 3rd-place match at Mubadala

Nadal to skip 3rd-place match at Mubadala

"Tough match, three-set match, I didn't play sets before here", said Nadal who had not played since a knee problem forced him to retire during his US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro in September.

Djokovic seemed to be highly motivated to win this high-quality encounter and with the support from the crowd at Zayed Sports City, the 14-time Grand Slam champion eventually converted his fifth match point to seal victory and a prize cheque of $250,000 after two hours and 14 minutes. 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.

In the second set, Anderson required only one break of serve - in the sixth game - to take the set and take the match into the deciding third set. I think it was the best match point I've ever played!

"I suffered a lot in terms of injury".

"There's a new generation of players, Nadal and Federer are still there, [Andy] Murray and [Stan] Wawrinka are coming back, Zverev is the leader of this Next Gen", Djokovic said. I am more or less satisfied with how the body held. "Today's match is a step forward for me, that's the main thing". Had a few in-roads in his serve game, but couldn't afford to lose my serve games, added the South African.

Earlier in the day, Russia's Karen Khachanov won the third-place match 6-3 4-6 10-3 over Austrian Dominik Thiem, who stepped in for Nadal after the Spaniard made a decision to skip the contest to avoid aggravating an injury ahead of the Australian Open.

"It was a little bit of risk that we don't make it into the beginning of the season, but here we are, practising more or less hard and we are excited to start the new season", he said.

"Positive three days here", Khachanov said of how he had enjoyed his first time at the event at the International Tennis Stadium at Zayed Sports City.

The Serb takes on either Russian Karen Khachanov or Dominic Thiem of Austria in Abu Dhabi on Friday and officially kicks off his 2019 season at the Qatar Open in Doha next week.

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