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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Hyeon Chung wary of Kevin Anderson challenge at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

The South Korean faces the defending champion at Zayed Sports City on Thursday

Hyeon Chung is ready for his tournament debut at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. EPA
Hyeon Chung is ready for his tournament debut at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. EPA

Hyeon Chung believes he will have to be at the top of his game on Thursday when he takes on defending champion Kevin Anderson in the opening match of the 2018 Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

The South Korean, making his debut at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, is looking to find his form ahead of the start of the 2019 after injury disrupted this year after his run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open had surprised the tennis world.

Anderson has won their only past two meetings on the ATP Tour, most recently in Acapulco in March, and Chung said: "I have played Kevin a few times so I know how to play against him and I know he is one of the great players in the world. I will have to play my best."

The world No 25 began his pre-season work in Thailand and is hoping to work on elements of his game in Abu Dhabi.

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Of being part of the action in the UAE, he said: "I have never been in Abu Dhabi before so I am enjoying it and I very happy to be part of the great players here.

"These exhibition matches are really good to play before the season's starts so I am looking forward to playing."

The 2018 season was a mixed one for Chung. He reached his first grand slam semi-final in Melbourne in January, with Alexander Zverev in the third round and Novak Djokovic in the last 16 being two of the players he defeated.

Although he fell short to Roger Federer in the semi-finals, retiring hurt due to a foot injury, the result lifted him up into the top 30 in the world, having been No 58 before then.

Quarter-final appearances at Indian Wells and Miami, as well as a semi-final spot at the BMW Open, even got him as high as No 19, but injuries and inconsistent form has seen him slip back in the second half of the year and he has not played since October.

Asked to assess his year and his goals for 2019, he said: "I had a great result and made a semi-final at a grand slam. But I then had a few months injury.

"I am just trying to enjoy all my time on and off the court and I just want to do my best next season."

The winner of the Anderson v Chung match will take on Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals on Friday.

Updated: December 26, 2018 06:59 PM

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