ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Novak Djokovic maintained his unbeaten record in Abu Dhabi by beating David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday to win his third consecutive World Tennis Championship title.
Djokovic, who finished the year with a 24-match winning streak on the ATP tour since losing the U.S. Open final to Rafael Nadal, needed just 82 minutes to dispatch the third-ranked Ferrer in the final of the invitational exhibition tournament.
Djokovic converted his third match point to take home the $250,000 winner’s check.
Ferrer led 4-2 in the first set, but then started making a number of unforced errors as Djokovic took control of the match.
Earlier, the top-ranked Nadal won a third-place playoff match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (5), 6-3.
EXHIBITION: In Hua Hin, Thailand, Victoria Azarenka beat top-ranked Serena Williams in straight sets Saturday in an exhibition match between the world’s top two women’s players.
The second-ranked Azarenka defeated Williams 7-5, 6-3 in front of about 3,000 fans at the Hua Hin World Tennis Invitation in a match both players used as a warm-up ahead of the Australian Open.
Azarenka broke for a 6-5 lead in the first set and broke twice in the second for her second victory at the exhibition event after 2011.
Williams beat Azarenka in the U.S. Open final this year.
The American said the match was “a good warm-up before Australia. Victoria is a strong player. It’s always fun to play someone like her.”
BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL: In Brisbane, Australia, Roger Federer arrived Down Under on Saturday for the Brisbane International with a refreshed outlook for 2014, no injuries and a new coach on his team.
Federer, who will use the Brisbane event as his only warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open which begins Jan. 13 in Melbourne, announced on Facebook on Friday that he’d added former No. 1 Stefan Edberg to his coaching team for at least 10 weeks.
Edberg, a six-time Grand Slam champion, including the Australian Open in 1985 and 1987, joins Federer’s support team under head coach Severin Luthi.
Federer, the winner of a record 17 Grand Slams, finished 2013 ranked No. 6 after struggling with a bad back for much of the season.
“Every time I had training (in the past) I had setbacks, little aches and pains ... which cost me confidence,” Federer said. “These last few months have been important for me.”
The Brisbane tournament is also a WTA event which includes Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Next week, the ATP and WTA will again combine at the Sydney International.