Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win ATP Qatar Open title in Doha
The pair were locked in a tense three hour encounter to decide who would win their first title in the 2017 ATP season.
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic has beaten No.1 Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to take the singles trophy at the finals of the ATP250 Qatar Open in Doha. In a thrilling, closely-contested match that went on for just under three hours, Djokovic successfully bested the wily shot-making of Murray to hold on to the trophy.
The match lasted two hours and forty-five minutes.
After a convincing first set win, the Serb looking strong in the second set as well, but inexplicably lost control, and went on to fritter away a total of three championship points en route to his win today.
Losing three match points ensured that a third, deciding set would be played in today’s match, and although the Serb showed some moments of struggle, he came through in the end.
It was not all smooth sailing for either player, as Murray struggled with aggression, while the Serb was visibly struggling and grimacing, clearly experiencing some form of leg pain which could be attributed to cramps.
Although only 250 points were at stake at the year-opening tournament, the prestige attached with this final in particular was immense. Djokovic, including today’s win, has beaten Murray 25 times of the 36 occasions they have met in the past.
The pair was locked in a close contest until the end of the match, each fighting back to break the other on serve.
In the end, after a second-set struggle, Djokovic took advantage of some crucial errors by Murray to seal the deal.
Despite his loss today, Murray displayed a singular level of commitment in returning, or attempting to a return a number of his rival’s shots, coming dangerously close to the net – and succeeding on occasion.
The win for Djokovic poses some interesting situations. Djokovic could still defend his former World No. 1 rank if he successfuly defends his Australian Open title from last year, and Murray finishes before the quarter-finals of the event. Given their respective forms, perhaps this might be a difficult ask, and fans could well see yet another Djokovic-Murray final at the first Grand Slam of the year.
Djokovic did, however, struggle with some pain and sustained a minor head-injury after taking a fall during the course of the final; in an act of sportsmanship, rival Murray was one of the first to check on the Serb.
The victory also means that Djokovic is regaining the superior mental fortitude that often significantly marks his court presence – and that is a definitive good sign for things to come from the tall Serbian.
But Murray’s commitment cannot be undermined either, and today’s final, played in almost Grand Slam-esque fashion, is a good show of things to come from the 2017 season – all the more exciting now that new talent is quickly rising towards the top of the ATP ranks.