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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

Novak Djokovic ready to 'weather the storm' against Kevin Anderson in Mubadala World Tennis Championship final

The world No 1 impressed by South African's form in Abu Dhabi

Novak Djokovic believes he will have to "weather the storm" from Kevin Anderson if he is to win a record-equalling fourth Mubadala World Tennis Championship title on Saturday.

The world No 1 will face defending champion Anderson in the showpiece event at 7pm after defeating Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-2 in Friday's semi-final at the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City.

It is a rematch of the Wimbledon final in July, which Djokovic won in straight sets, but he is expecting a tough time of it against his South African opponent, who beat Rafael Nadal in his semi-final.

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"Kevin is a very powerful player," said the Serbian. "He is a tall guy and he hits the ball very fast.

"My goal is always to try and weather the storm. I cannot hit stronger then he does, especially on the serve, but I can tactically do some things to outsmart him."

Djokovic has an 8-1 record over Anderson on the ATP Tour, with the South African's lone victory coming 10 years ago in Miami.

But Djokovic has been impressed with the world No 6, and said: "He is playing really well. He beat Nadal today and I thought it was a nice match. I watched it."

Djokovic, who won the last of this three MWTC titles in December 2013, said the fact it was only his second match back on court after the off-season would make Saturday's final hard to predict.

"We are still kind of engaging our engines a little bit so it will be interesting to see how it pans out."

Before the final Khachanov will play Dominic Thiem in an exhibition match, which starts at 5pm.

The play-off for third place has been forfeited in Khachanov's favour after Nadal chose to withdraw from the rest of the tournament following his defeat to Anderson, choosing to rest his body after playing his first match in almost four months after injury.

But Khachanov will now face Thiem again in a rematch from Thursday's quarter-final, which was won by the Russian in straight sets.

Updated: December 29, 2018 09:03 AM

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