World No. 14 Kevin Anderson edged past World number five Dominic Thiem of Austria in straight sets 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, to secure his place in Saturday’s final on day two of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship 10th Edition.
The South African will next play Roberto Bautista Agut in the Championship decider after the Spaniard received a walkover following Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal from the tournament.
In a highly entertaining semi-final in front of an excited crowd, Thiem broke Anderson in the third game of the opening set with an amazing crosscourt forehand winner to take the lead 2-1. However, the 6’8” Anderson broke right back in the next service game to tie it up at two each. The South African was under pressure in the ninth game at 30-40 but recovered in time to hold serve. The remainder of the set saw both players hold serve taking it to a tie-break and after a double-fault by Thiem at 6-7, Anderson took the opening set in 53 minutes.
The South African started out strongly in the second set as he broke Thiem’s serve in the first game and didn’t look back from there as he went on to win the match in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Thiem, who has never beaten Anderson in six attempts, was playing in his first match of the season after he received a bye in the opening round. Commenting on his loss, he said, “I have to accept it and of course I would have preferred to win but still I felt good and had no pain. I was moving well. I am not really disappointed.”
The 26-year-old Austrian could take away some positives from his first competitive match of the new season.
“Not everything was bad today,” Thiem said. “It was a good match but it is always tough against him. There was actually only one bad game I played in the first game of the second set when I lost my serve.”
source credit: Tennis Tourtalk