Rafael Nadal rallies to victory in Mubadala World Tennis Championship final

Updated: Dec 23, 2019, 07:48 IST | AFP | Abu Dhabi

World No. 1 Nadal outlasts Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) in thrilling Abu Dhabi final

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the World Tennis Championship final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates with the trophy after winning the World Tennis Championship final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Abu Dhabi: Spanish World No. 1 Rafael Nadal rallied for a narrow 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in the UAE capital.

The match between two players, who will be among the shortlist of favourites at next month's Australian Open, fully lived up to the expectations. Nadal took a service-break lead at 5-4, but faltered when trying to serve out the first set and then lost the tiebreaker on Saturday, reports Efe news.

The second set nearly came down to a tiebreaker as well, but Nadal won six out of eight games to capture the second set 7-5 and take a 4-2 lead in the decider. Tsitsipas, 21, who looks set to challenge the dominance of Nadal, Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Switzerland's Roger Federer in 2020, was not done yet though.

Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas
Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas

The World No. 6 showed his return-game prowess in breaking back to even the set, although the 19-time Grand Slam champion finally pulled away in the match-deciding tiebreaker to capture a record fifth Abu Dhabi title.

It was the second straight down-to-the wire contest between Tsitsipas and Nadal, who edged the rising Greek star 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5 last month in the round-robin phase of the ATP Finals, men's tennis' elite, eight-man, season-ending tournament.

Tsitsipas went on to win that event—the biggest title of his career thus far—by defeating Federer in straight sets in the semifinals and Austria's Dominic Thiem in three sets in the final. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Tsitsipas will arguably be the top four favorites at next month's Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event on the 2020 tennis calendar.

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