Printed Dec 23, 2019
Dec 23, 2019 IST
Rafael Nadal threw down the gauntlet with a gritty win over ATP World Tour Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas to document an unprecedented fifth title on the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. The 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3) win was as a lot a testomony to his combating spirit as it’s to his starvation to maintain profitable on the highest degree of the game even on the age of 33.
With the Greek star in scintillating kind, it wasn’t a straightforward outing for the World No. 1, as evident from the scoreline. Tsitsipas got here into this match having been topped the champion on the season finale, the place Nadal was the one man to beat him in an enthralling three-setter.
The 21-year-old gave the impression to be in no temper to relent even at this prestigious exhibition match when he stormed again from a set down to finish a stirring 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-Four comeback victory over the 16-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic within the semi-finals. Nadal, then again, had it very simple as he cruised to a chic 6-1, 6-Three win in opposition to NextGen participant, Karen Khachanov.
Having not needed to exert himself in his near-flawless win over the Russian, the 19-time Main winner regarded all set to put his lands on the Mubadala trophy as soon as once more.
The southpaw started the ultimate on a optimistic notice with a break of serve. However his incapacity to serve out the primary set introduced the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist again into rivalry and Tsitsipas didn’t waste this golden alternative.
Nadal then denied his younger opponent an opportunity to transform break factors within the second set as he levelled the match at one set apiece.
The decider was dramatic with Nadal taking the early benefit with a service break. An undeterred Tsitsipas charged again to stretch the set right into a tie-break the place the numero uno participant dictated phrases to seize the win.
Within the third-place play-off, final yr’s champion Djokovic beat Khachanov 7-5, 6-3.
The hard-fought title win will impress Nadal into giving his all as he continues his quest for an elusive second title at Melbourne Park whereas Tsitsipas will look to erase this setback and prepare for a maiden Grand Slam trophy.
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