Djokovic beats Murray in Qatar

07 January 2017 13:38:54 EST

In another season that looks set to be dominated by Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, it was the Serb who drew first blood, winning the Qatar Open.

The defending champion won an enthralling final 6-3 5-7 6-4 to claim his first title of the season and ensure he goes into the Australian Open with confidence.

Djokovic could have made shorter work of the match, having been a set and a break up but, serving for the championship, Murray broke back, taking the second set and forcing a decider.

In a match always high on quality Djokovic made the first decisive break for 5-3 in the first set, then going cross court in his own service game to take the set 6-3.

A break for 4-3 in the second looked to have been enough to secure the match and he served for the championship at 5-4.

However, he came unstuck, having match points saved by Murray who unleashed some powerful volleys to break back for 5-5.

Murray went from strength to strength at the end of that set, taking it 7-5 and ensuring that the crowd were treated to another set of superb tennis.

Djokovic broke again at 4-3 in the third and this time made that advantage pay, holding serve to take the match which gives him a winning start to 2017 after a poor, by his standards, end to the previous year.

The players now have a week to make final preparations for the first Grand Slam of 2017, the Australian Open.

Defending champion Djokovic who has won the tournament six times, is 13/8 to win again in a few weeks time.

Murray, beaten finalist five times including the last two in a row, both at the hands of the Serb, is 13/8 to finally win at Melbourne Park this year. Stan Wawrinka is priced at 12/1.

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