Nadal loses to Anderson

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic holds the trophy after he beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson in the final match of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on December 29.

The world number one - who had previously won the exhibition tournament for three successive years from 2011 to 2013 - triumphed 4-6 7-5 7-5 in a highly competitive final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Anderson would go on to be beaten by Novak Djokovic, but gave a good account of himself in the win over Nadal.

The 32-year-old Nadal returned to the court here on Friday for the first time since injury forced him to retire from a US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro on September 7, reports Efe.

'I am happy as a tennis player to see a new generation of players coming up and winning big titles like Alexander Zverev, Karen Khachanov, Dominic Thiem and Chung Hyeon as well, ' said Djokovic, who lost to Zverev in the ATP Finals championship clash.

"I practised here and played real matches so it is a great way to start the season".

The Serb then increased his power and won the final set with the same result to win the title.

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Khachanov said of that setback: "I had a few chances opportunities in the first few games, there was a few times it was 0-30 on his serve". I could feel the tension between us, two great competitors. When you play someone like this at this level you want to win.

"I didn't take them and after a tough game at 4-4 again I missed some shots and he played some good points and he got the break". "I am grateful that this season has taught me a lot about myself as a tennis player and as a person".

"There are still things that I want to achieve", he said.

"I started about two weeks ago and I am taking small steps forward".

Before the final, fans were treated to a special exhibition match between world number eight Dominic Thiem and Paris Masters victor Karen Khachanov, following the unfortunate withdrawal of Rafael Nadal from the third-place play-off.

In the super tiebreak, Khachanov raced away to a 5-1 lead aided by a couple of unforced errors from Thiem and didn't face much resistance as he wrapped up the match in 10-3 in an hour and 24 minutes.