Tsitsipas through to play Djokovic at World Tennis Championship

Novak Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday at the World Tennis Championship, where Maria Sharapova won the women's exhibition.

Sixth-ranked star Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4.   -  Getty Images

World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past Andrey Rublev to secure a Mubadala World Tennis Championship semifinal against defending champion Novak Djokovic. Just weeks out from the start of the 2020 ATP Tour season, Tsitsipas geared up for the new campaign with a dominant win in the opening match of the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament.

The Greek, who won the 2019 ATP Finals, saw off Rublev - a deputy for Gael Monfils - 6-3 6-4, seizing his first match point. Djokovic is up next, with Tsitsipas having won twice and lost twice in competitive meetings with the great Serbian, each of them coming at Masters 1000 tournaments.

In the other semifinal, Rafael Nadal will renew his one-sided rivalry with Karen Khachanov, who saw off Hyeon Chung 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. Top-ranked Nadal has won each of his seven prior meetings with Khachanov, including as recently as at the Davis Cup Finals, where Spain went on to claim the title.

Khachanov had stepped in for fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev, the outstanding star of the second half of 2019, who pushed Nadal to five sets in the US Open final. Rublev and Chung will now meet in Friday's fifth-place play-off before the two last-four clashes.

Meanwhile, in the one-off women's exhibition, five-time major champion Maria Sharapova saw off Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets. The 32-year-old edged a break-heavy opener but trailed in the second set before levelling and then nudging in front to avoid a tie-break, triumphing 6-4 7-5.

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