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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Lowdown and predictions: Mubadala World Tennis Championship Day 2 - Anderson to face Bautista Agut in final after Djokovic pulls out

Ahead of the second day of the action in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Sports City here is a rundown on what to watch out for.

Kevin Anderson was a winner on Thursday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and faces Dominic Thiem on Friday. Nezar Balout / AFP
Kevin Anderson was a winner on Thursday at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship and faces Dominic Thiem on Friday. Nezar Balout / AFP

Ahead of Friday's semi-finals matches at the 10th staging of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, here is a look at the two match-ups and also the fifth-place play-off.

Fifth-place play-off: Pablo Carreno Busta v Andrey Rublev, from 2.30pm

If there were awards given out for how hard the ball is hit, Rublev would be a winner as some of his searing strokes last night were sensational to watch.

But the 20 year old still lacks the experience on shot selection and was comfortably beaten by Roberto Bautista Agut.

Carreno Busta will likely play a similar game to his Spanish compatriot and look to stay in rallies and let Rublev make the mistake as he goes for winners from all across the court.

Rublev is an outstanding talent in the making but he is not quite there yet in terms of consistency and this is likely to be another learning experience for him.

Prediction: Carreno Busta in straight sets

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Semi-final 1: Dominic Thiem v Kevin Anderson, from 5pm

This should be a cracking match. Thiem, 24, is one of the new generation of players threatening to breakthrough and at No 5 in the world is poised for a strong 2018.

Anderson, 31, has just had his best year on the ATP, reaching his first grand slam final at the US Open.

The world No 14 looked in good form as he despatched Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals on Thursday and he will fancy his chances of reaching Saturday's final.

He has a 6-0 record over Thiem in ATP matches, and with the extra time on court he could well edge out his higher-ranked opponent when they come on court at 5pm.

Prediction: Anderson in three sets

Semi-final 2: Novak Djokovic v Roberto Bautista Agut, from 7pm

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on the advice of his medical team.

The 12-time major winner was due to play Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-final on Friday but an announcement saying the Serb would no longer take part because of a long-term elbow injury was made four hours before he was due on court.

Bautista Agut, the Spaniard who on Thursday beat Russia's Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals, will now play a one-set exhibition against former world No 1 Andy Murray, who is in Abu Dhabi training, from 7pm at the International Tennis Stadium at Zayed Sports City instead of the scheduled match with Djokovic.

Organisers confirmed Baustista Agut would be given a walkover to the final, where he will play the winner of the semi-final between Kevin Anderson and Dominic Thiem. That match starts Friday at 5pm.

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