World number one, Novak Djokovic prevailed 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 over Kevin Anderson of South Africa to lift the Championship title in Abu Dhabi, signing of year 2018 in fine fashion.
Djokovic, who won the title in 2011, 2012 and 2013, had surrendered to Anderson’s big serves and lost the opening set. But the Serb would rally brilliantly to level the match and then hold his nerves to close it out, claiming his fourth title at the Zayed Sports City.
Anderson, despite the defeat, lauded the city for a great event and congratulated Djokovic on the victory
— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) December 29, 2018
Earlier, Russia’s Karen Khachanov clinched a third-place finish after he beat Dominic Thiem 6-3, 4-6, 10-3.
Khachanov was billed to play Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard fell to Kevin Anderson in the semifinals. But the 32-year-old pulled out of the third-place match, saying he intends taking his comeback from injury slowly.
Thiem got in as a replacement and was beaten for the second time in three days by Khachanov, who revealed how satisfied he was to have participated in the event.
— MWTC (@MubadalaTennis) December 29, 2018
“Positive three days here,” the 22-year-old said. “I practised here and played real matches so it is a great way to start the season.”