Djokovic defends Qatar ExxonMobil Open title

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, TENNIS

 

DOHA: Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to defend the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex here on Saturday.

The three-set thriller that lasted two hours and 54 minutes also helped Djokovic end world No.1 Murray's 28-match winning streak.

It was also the Serb star's 25th career victory over his rival, who deposed him as world No.1 recently.

In their first meeting since Murray won the season-ending ATP World Tour finals, the Briton ran into a rejuvenated Djokovic who, despite having problems with his racquet hand and receiving two warnings for his behaviour, prevailed thrillingly in their 36th contest.

The world No.2 said it was "the dream start" to 2017 in his build-up to the defence of the Australian Open title later this month.

"It was close, a very physical battle. All the way to the last shot, you never know with Andy. It's no strange occurrence for us to play three sets for three hours," said Djokovic.

The Serbian missed out on three match points in the second set and had to repel a roaring Murray comeback before ending the latter's, five-tournament winning streak.

"It means a lot. For the last three months of 2016, I haven't felt that confident on court and didn't play that consistent. But to start 2017 with a win over the world No.1 and my biggest rival was a dream start so I'm hoping I can get the best out of it," added Djokovic.

RESULT

Final

Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Andy Murray (GBR x1) 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

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