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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Stan Wawrinka impressed by strength of Mubadala World Tennis Championship field

The Swiss player will make his fifth appearance at the tournament when the action takes place between December 28-30.

Stan Wawrinka is looking forward to his fifth appearance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Cyril Zingaro / EPA
Stan Wawrinka is looking forward to his fifth appearance at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Cyril Zingaro / EPA

Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka believes the field for this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) is one of the strongest in the event’s history and hopes it can set him up to challenge for a second Australian Open title in January.

The Swiss will be making his fifth appearance at the event at International Tennis Stadium at Zayed Sports City on December 28 when he goes up against Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals.

It will be Wawrinka’s first appearance on court since he lost in the first round of Wimbledon in July as he missed the final months of the season to undergo knee surgery.

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If he beats Carreno Busta the world No 9 will face Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, with the other side of the draw containing world No 1 Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem.

Wawrinka, whose last appearance in Abu Dhabi was in 2016, said in a news release: “Since ending the 2017 campaign I’ve been working hard each day to get ready for the new season.

“The Championship will offer the perfect opportunity for me to get back on the court ahead of the year’s first grand slam. This year’s line-up is one of the most competitive ever and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Wawrinka’s best result in Abu Dhabi is two fourth-place finishes in 2015 and 2016.

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Event schedule

December 28

Stan Wawrinka v Pablo Carreno Busta, 5pm

Milos Raonic v Dominic Thiem, no earlier then 7pm

December 29

Rafael Nadal v Stan Wawrinka / Pablo Carreno Busta, 5pm

Novak Djokovic v Milos Raonic / Dominic Thiem, no earlier then 7pm

December 30

3rd/4th place play-off, 5pm

Final, 7pm

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He will fancy his chances of a showdown with Djokovic, a three-time winner of the MWTC, for a place in the final on December 30 given that he has won his past three matches with Carreno Busta, the most recent at Indian Wells in April when he won 6-3, 6-2.

Wawrinka’s first major title came at the Australia Open in 2014 when he beat Nadal in the fina. He had played at the MWTC a month earlier to begin his preparations. Wawrinka, 32, has also won the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open.

Of his past appearances in the capital, Wawrinka said: “I have always enjoyed playing in Abu Dhabi.

“The fans are amazing and the level of tennis is amongst the best anywhere in the world.”

The MWTC has a winner takes all prize fund of US$250,000 (Dh918,100).

This is the 10th staging of the competition, which had its inaugural event in December 2008-January 2009, which was won by Andy Murray.

Tickets to the MWTC are currently on sale for the general public at www.ticketmaster.ae and all Virgin Megastores across the UAE. For more information, visit www.mubadalawtc.com.

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