World No. 5 Andrey Rublev is looking to end the year just the way he started–by winning a title. However, the Russian faces a daunting task against two-time champion Andy Murray on Saturday. Who will be crowned champion in the 13th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship?
Mubadala World Tennis Championship Final Prediction
Head-to-head: Murray 1-1 Rublev
Andrey Rublev toppled Denis Shapovalov in a tense, seesaw match that cranked up the decibel levels inside the court. After exchanging the first two sets, the decider stayed on serve until late on when the Canadian cracked under massive scoreboard pressure. At 4-5, 30-all, Shapovalov produced an unforced error and an untimely double fault to lose serve and cede the match.
Andy Murray, for his part, played superbly to defeat Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the second semifinal on Friday. In what was the first meeting between the pair in almost five years, it was Murray who showed composure and consistency throughout the match. Nadal, who was playing in his first match since the ATP event in Washington showed little resistance. The top seed and Shapovalov will contest Saturday’s third-place match.
There was a lot to like about Murray’s functional play on Friday. He admitted next year will be huge as far as the trajectory of his tennis career goes. But judging by his two wins so far this week, he should feel confident going to Australia next month and challenge. His serve worked a treat against a great returner like Nadal, while his groundstrokes were fluid and measured. But it is pertinent to note that the Spaniard is only just on the comeback trail and was bound to be rusty in his first match. Rublev will be a test, certainly if can keep Murray pinned behind the baseline. Although the Brit’s muscle strength has improved immeasurably in the past few months, he has lost that yard or two of pace. Rublev might nick this.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
Main Photo from Getty.