Djokavic beats Murray to defend Qatar Open title
DOHA, Qatar — Defending champion Novak Djokovic successfully defended his Qatar Open title by beating top-seeded Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday.
The dramatic match, which showcased the best of men’s tennis for 2 hours, 54 minutes, required Djokovic to need four match points — three in the second set and one in the third — to prevail.
“Definitely one of the best ways of starting a year,” Djokovic said on court. “After saving five match points in the semifinal, and I had three match points in the second set, I said, ‘Wow’ when he turned it around.”
“All the way to the last shot you never know with Andy.”
Murray’s loss ended his 28-match winning streak that dated to Sept. 18.
Djokovic had three match points in the 10th game of the second set, but couldn’t prevent Murray from making it 5-5 and eventually winning the second set.
Murray finally capitalized on his fourth break point — second in that 10th game — with an inside out forehand winner.
Despite going up 0-30, Murray wasn’t able to come up with the same magic when Djokovic served for the match a second time at 5-4 in the third set. Murray also failed to take advantage of a break point in the sixth game of the third set.
“Physically, it was a good test to start the year,” Murray said. “My body feels all right just now, so that’s positive.”
Murray won their last encounter 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP Finals in November. That victory catapulted Murray ahead of Djokovic to the year-end No. 1 ranking for the first time.