No. 8 Match of the Year: Djokovic vs. Murray, Doha

The Grandstand has compiled its list of the Top 10 Matches of the Year for 2017. Matches were ranked from a combination of Top 10 lists made by the Grandstand’s Ricky Dimon, Joey Hanf of Cliff Drysdale Tennis, voting at MensTennisForums, and Twitter user Ben Conti.

No. 8: Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, Doha final

Djokovic and Murray have waged a few five-setters against each other over the years, but for the most part both quality and competitiveness are lacking when these two former world No. 1s go head-to-head. Not so at this past season’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

In a riveting title match, Djokovic held the upper hand just about the entire way but Murray constantly refused to surrender without a fight. The Serb confidently served out the opening set at love in the ninth game, punctuating it with a ferocious forehand winner. Djokovic seemed to be on his way to a somewhat routine triumph when he served for the title at 5-4 in the second and got a look at three championship points. But Murray saved all three and eventually broke to stay alive with an inside-out forehand winner. The three-time major champion broke again at 6-5 to force a third.

Murray would not relinquish his momentum until Djokovic seized a lead once more with a love break at 3-3. Improving to 12-1 lifetime in Doha and lifting his second winner’s trophy at the tournament, Djokovic went on to serve out the match at 5-4 by capitalizing on his fourth match point. He finished off the two-hour and 54-minute battle by running Murray all over the court and blasting a final forehand winner.

Highlights:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qFsD0_Cans

“(This is the) best scenario I could ask for at the beginning of the season,” Djokovic assured. “Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against (the) No. 1 of the world, (my) biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match. It was a really, really thrilling performance from both of us. Just a great way to start the year…. 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.”

“Obviously (I’m) disappointed not to win tonight, but I played pretty good the last couple of matches,” Murray reflected. “I think physically it was a good test to start the year.”


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