Khachanov Beats Thiem On Opening Day Of The MWTC In Abu Dhabi

Karen Khachanov at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, December 27, 2018

Karen Khachanov will challenge Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. The 22-year-old Russian defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6(3), 6-3 under the flood lights at Zayed Sports City on Thursday evening.

“In general it was good match,” Khachanov said afterwards. “The surface is pretty fast and the balls are flying more here. The guy, who serves better and is hitting more aggressive wins the point most of the time. It might be an exhibition but it was a serious match from both players. You still want to win.”

The World No. 11 will next take on top-ranked Novak Djokovic. Khachanov beat the Serbian in the final of the Paris Masters last month. “I need to be well prepared and it will show me in which form I am right now. It depends on how he will play. It’s just the beginning of the season and it will be Novak’s first match. I am looking forward to a good fight and let’s see how it goes.”

Thiem to face Chung 

Thiem will play Hyeon Chung, who lost earlier in the day to defending champion Kevin Anderson 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1. “The first match after a longer time feels always a bit strange,” Thiem told Tennis TourTalk. “Playing against a strong opponent didn’t make it easier. I needed some time to adapt to the conditions here. Nonetheless it was okay.

“I served pretty well and felt good on the court. However, the movement still needs to improve, so it’s great to have another match tomorrow. I expect longer rallies, which will be helpful to find my rhythm.”