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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

Novak Djokovic v Kevin Anderson for the title: Mubadala World Tennis Championship Day 3 guide and predictions

A look ahead at the closing day of the 11th staging of the tournament in Abu Dhabi, with Karen Khachanov facing Dominic Thiem in an exhibition match

Novak Djokovic faces Kevin Anderson in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. AFP
Novak Djokovic faces Kevin Anderson in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. AFP

It is the last day of the 2018 Mubadala World Tennis Championship with the final taking centre stage as world No 1 Novak Djokovic goes up against Kevin Anderson.

There will also be an exhibition match between Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem before the main event.

Here is what to watch out for.

Exhibition match

Karen Khachanov v Dominic Thiem, 5pm

This is taking place instead of the scheduled play-off for third place, which had to be changed after Rafael Nadal chose to withdraw following his loss to Anderson in the semi-finals on Friday.

Khachanov, who lost to Djokovic, will still get some more game time though as he has a match with Thiem.

The two played on Thursday in the quarter-finals, with the Russian world No 11 winning 7-6, 6-3 that day.

Thiem looks like he is still struggling to get up to speed after the off-season and he lost the play-off for fifth place to Hyeon Chung in straight sets on Friday.

Khachanov was well beaten by Djokovic on Friday but he should still have enough to beat Thiem again.

Prediction Khachanov in straight sets

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Final

Novak Djokovic v Kevin Anderson, 7pm

Victory here would be the icing on the cake of a stunning 12 months for Djokovic.

Last December, having already arrived in the UAE, he had to pull out of the MWTC due to still struggling with an elbow injury. which would later require surgery.

Fast forward to now and he is one match away from winning the MWTC for a fourth time, coming after he won two grand slams in the second half of 2018, which has also got him back to world No 1.

Standing in his way is Anderson, who is aiming to defend the title he won last year for the first time.

The South African has been tenacious in Abu Dhabi, coming from a set down to beat both Hyeon Chung and Nadal.

But, Djokovic looked like he had not missed a beat, despite not playing for a month, in defeating Khachanov on Friday and Anderson cannot afford to fall behind this time if he is to prevail.

Both men are already pleased with what they have achieved here, with an eye to preparing for 2019, but it will be Djokovic who ends the year with another trophy.

Prediction Djokovic in straight sets

Updated: December 29, 2018 10:27 AM

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