The semifinal of the ongoing Mubadala World Tennis Championships will feature a classic David v Goliath battle between the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and his Russian counterpart Karen Khachanov.
Watch & bet on Novak Djokovic v Karen Khachanov live in the Mubadala World Tennis Championships with bet365 here* on Friday, December 28. The match begins at 7:00 pm local time (3:00 am GMT next day).
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Djokovic v Khachanov Head to Head
The two players have met only twice in their respective careers so far. Both of those occasions were in 2018.
They first met in the fourth round of Wimbledon, where the Serbian won the match comfortably 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Their second meeting took place in the final of the Paris Masters, where Khachanov, in a surprising turn of events, defeated Djokovic in straight sets to lift the biggest title of his young career so far.
Khachanov – the Next Star of the ATP Tour?
In 2018, Khachanov sent a strong message to the rest of the players on the circuit when he finished the season as the World No. 11 at just 22 years of age. Along with Alexander Zverev, Khachanov is being hailed as one of the few players who can upset the established order on the ATP circuit.
His three titles of the year came in Marseille, Moscow, and Paris. On each of those three instances, he had to defeat many prominent players to reach the top.
For instance, in Marseille, he defeated Tomas Berdych and Lucas Pouille to lift his first trophy of the year. At the Paris Masters, he edged past John Isner, Alexander Zverev, and Dominic Thiem in a superb fashion to set up the final clash with the Serbian.
At the same time, it is quite fair to say that the Russian lacks consistency on his part. He has had a couple of abrupt runs over the course of the year as well. This is quite possibly the reason why he didn’t break into the top 10 and move up further.
With a little more experience and patience, there is no saying what Khachanov can achieve, especially against the big guns.
At Mubadala, he defeated Dominic Thiem in straight sets.
Djokovic’s Return to the Top
The Serbian’s return to the ATP Tour after battling with injuries has been an intriguing tale. He started the year as the World No. 14, fell out of the top 20 by the middle of the year and later, moved on to become the World No. 1 once again.
He had his first breakthrough at the ATP London, where, despite losing in the final to Marin Cilic, he gained enough momentum to do exceedingly well in the second half of the season.
He won the Wimbledon the next week and later, he won the Cincinnati Masters, the US Open, and the Shanghai Masters. He accumulated a total of 6,000 ranking points at these tournaments and it propelled him to the second position.
His feats at Paris, the ATP World Tour Finals, and Nadal’s early exit from the season helped him gain the No. 1 ranking once again.
The challenge for the Serbian now will be to keep the lead, especially with Nadal and other players roaring with confidence. Coming to this fixture against Khachanov, he is definitely going to start the match as the favorite to win. However, Khachanov is one player that cannot be taken lightly. All in all, this is going to be a thrilling match.