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10sBalls • Tennis Shares Ricky’s Best ATP Matches Of 2017: No. 8 is Djokovic vs. Murray In Doha

Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves the ball to Andy Murray of Great Britain during their final match of ATP Qatar Open tennis tournament at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, 07 January 2017. EPA/NOUSHAD THEKKAYIL



Ricky’s best ATP matches of 2017: No. 8 is Djokovic vs. Murray in Doha


By Ricky Dimon


Over the next week, Ricky is counting down his top 10 men’s matches of the year, in order from No. 10 all the way down to No. 1. It continues at No. 8 with the Doha title match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Due mostly to respective injuries, it proved to be their only head-to-head matchup of the entire season.


Doha final: Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4


Djokovic and Murray have gone head-to-head in their fair share of five-setters over the years, but for the most the encounters between these two former world No. 1s are lacking just a bit in the departments of quality and competitiveness. That was certainly not the case at the 2017 Qatar ExxonMobil Open.


In a riveting final, Djokovic enjoyed the upper hand just about the entire way but Murray refused to go down without a fight time and time again. The Serb confidently served out the first set with a love hold at 5-3, sealing the deal with a blistering forehand.


He appeared to be well on his way to a relatively routine victory when he toed the line to serve for the title at 5-4 in the second set. Three championship points ensued for Djokovic only to see Murray save all three. The 2016 year-end world No. 1 eventually broke serve with an inside-out forehand winner and he continued to stay alive in the match when he seized another break at 6-5. Thus a third and final set was necessary.


Murray would not relinquish the momentum until his opponent once more gained the edge with a love break in the seventh game. Djokovic went on to serve out the match at 5-4 by capitalizing on his fourth match point, improving to 12-1 lifetime in Doha and winning his second title at the event. He finished off the battle after two hours and 54 minutes by running Murray ragged and sending one final forehand winner sizzling past the Scot.


“(This is the) best scenario I could ask for at the beginning of the season,” Djokovic commented. “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 assessed. “I think physically it was a good test to start the year.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


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