Less than 48 hours into the New Year, top adversaries Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka will write another chapter in their ever-growing rivalry, as they meet for the 20th time on the tour at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.
In 2014, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic won seven titles, and compiled a 61-8 record throughout the season. He won the Wimbledon Championships for the second time in his career, as well as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Considering his dominance over the past few months, it is hard to imagine a drop in standard over the coming while. The Serb presents the toughest challenge on the tour’s immediate future, and it will be interesting to see whether he can maintain his momentum early in the season – especially against the Swiss star in his opening match.
“Abu Dhabi has built a reputation for pulling together the most formidable lineups of players. All of the potential opponents are going to test me so I will have to be at my best. I’ll start the season with a match against Stan Wawrinka so from the moment we’re out there it’s going to be intense competition. The fans will be in fine form I’m sure so it’s going to be the perfect start to the new season.”
Stan Wawrinka needed just 61 minutes to dispatch Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-2. It was a no-nonsense performance from the world No. 4, as he served with sublime accuracy and had no issues with his one-handed backhand on this occasion. However, it was far from a poor showing from Almagro, who won several love-games and remained competitive through the early portions of each set before giving away a break point in each to eventually lose the match.
This marks the third time in the last 12-months that Djokovic and Wawrinka will cross paths on the tour. They split those two meetings, with Wawrinka winning the former en route to his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, and Djokovic the second in the Round Robin stage of the ATP World Tour Finals.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Three Sets