Tsitsipas, Khachanov Advance At Abu Dhabi

Stefanos Tsitsipas advances to the semi-finals in Abu Dhabi (photo: MWTC)

ABU DHABI, December 20, 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas kicked off the action at the 12th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Russia’s Andrey Rublev in Thursday’s quarterfinal at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. The 21-year-old from Greece closed out the match in one hour and eight minutes.

“It was a well-balanced match and we both gave the fans something they could enjoy. I stuck to my game plan from my forehand side and served well at times. I need much more consistency moving into the season, but I found ways to make it happen. I am going to keep trying to mix it up by working on things which will be important in the future,” said Tsitsipas.

Having earned a semi-final clash with World No. 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic, Tsitsipas added: “Competition between us is very intense and it’s difficult test this early in the season. I need to be focused.”

Khachanov sets clash with Nadal

Later in the evening, Karen Khachanov overcame a spirited Hyeon Chung from South Korea to win the second men’s quarterfinal. The 23-year-old Russian won 7-6(5), 6-4 to set up a mouthwatering clash against World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the stage of the final four on Friday.

“The match was filled with intense rallies and some good service returns. It was played at a good level and I think the crowd really enjoyed it. I played a serious match, tried out some new things and it felt nice,” said Khachanov, who revealed he is undaunted by the prospect of facing the 19 Grand Slam-winning Spaniard for a place in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship final.

“It is always encouraging to play against Rafa because there is an unbelievable intensity about him. I admire his hard work so much and the intensity of the shots and movement. I like to play against him and we have had good matches, so I can’t wait for tomorrow. Off the court, he is a really nice guy and we speak a lot outside of the court, always joking.”

Sharapova wins women’s match

In the women’s match Maria Sharapova of Russia defeated Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4, 7-5.

“It’s tough to measure in numbers but it felt good to get out there today,” said Sharapova. “I felt confident and there are some things I did well, definitely. I kept playing and kept improving the aspects of my game which were needed. I wanted to get a higher percentage of first service today, to give me the chance to get into the points and I did a good job of keeping that percentage high.”

After dazzling Abu Dhabi on her first UAE capital appearance, Sharapova added: “I love coming here. I had a real nice time a couple of years ago at the F1 and I experienced the culture of this great city. Today, it was nice to play in front of people who hadn’t seen me play before and if I have the opportunity I would love to come back.”

Friday’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship action in Abu Dhabi begins with a fifth-place play-off between Andrey Rublev and Hyeon Chung at 3pm, before Tsitsipas faces World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and Khachnov takes on World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Off court, ticket holders will be treated to player clinics, Q&A sessions and autograph signings with the world’s best. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ae