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Summary

  1. Djokovic wins first set 6-3
  2. Murray wins second 7-5 after saving three match points
  3. But Djokovic takes the third 6-4
  4. It is Murray's first loss in 29 ATP Tour matches
  5. GET INVOLVED #bbctennis

Live Reporting

By Amy Lofthouse

All times stated are UK

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Sir Andy Murray will remain as world number one, but it's not going to be an easy ride. We'll be back for the Australian Open. Until then.

'You never know with Andy'

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 6-4 Murray

Novak Djokovic on Eurosport: "Definitely one of the best ways to start a year. When he turned it around, wow, I thought I hope this is not payback time for yesterday.

"All the way, to the last shot, you never know with Andy. It's no strange occurrence for both of us to play three sets for three hours. It's a very physical battle. We're both going to need a little time to recover.

"To win here, against the biggest rival, is a dream start."

Novak Djokovic
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Well. That was fun. A thoroughly absorbing match that could have gone either way. Murray battled his way back into it in the second set but a few errors cost him. Djokovic will retain his title. We're nicely set for the Australian Open.

Game, set and match Djokovic

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 6-4 Murray*

Here we go. Murray's read his notes, Djokovic's had a snack and now he'll serve for the match. As you'd expect from these two it's a real tussle, Murray getting the early blows in before Djokovic fights back. He's so animated, pumping his fists as the crowd join in.

Another incredible rally brings this game to a close as Djokovic forces one final error from Murray. He'll retain his title in Qatar. 

Novak Djokovic celebrates
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*Djokovic 6-3 5-7 5-4 Murray

We're into full-on grunt territory now. Just like before when he was on top, Djokovic looks a little tentative, and Murray takes advantage. A long rally goes Murray's way as he comes up to the net, beats Djokovic for pace with a two hander and the Serb skews the return out. Murray holds, but Djokovic will now serve for the match.

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Emil Antonios: Noooooooooooo.

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 5-3 Murray*

Djokovic takes his time, bouncing the ball before hammering a huge serve past Murray. It's a great demonstration of serving from Djokovic, upping his tempo constantly, and a tired-looking Murray eventually hammers a rally back into the net. One more game for Djokovic. But then, we've been here before.

Djokovic breaks Murray

*Djokovic 6-3 5-7 4-3 Murray

Murray gestures to the sky as he's on the losing end of another long rally. A lovely shot down the line from Djokovic has him grinning and the crowd on his side again. Murray smacks into the net and his head drops. Djokovic has broken him again.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates
EPA

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 3-3 Murray*

Murray has never before come from a set down to beat Djokovic. I'm saying nothing. He squanders two well-earned points though as Djokovic wins a tussle at the net, but Djokovic is starting to tire and he sends a return wide to bring it to deuce. He looks pained as Murray starts to take control, but two fiery returns from the Serb ensures he holds, and the grin finds its way back to his face.

*Djokovic 6-3 5-7 2-3 Murray

Djokovic ends up doing the splits as he attempts to return a hearty thwack from Murray, but it crashes into the net. Another cheeky backhand, Murray right up to the net, brings another point before an ace secures the game.

Qatar Open court
EPA

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 2-2 Murray*

A quick banana break for Murray and we're back underway, Murray letting out an agonised yell as Djokovic steams a forehand past him. Another long rally goes Djokovic's way. He wipes his face on a towel, despite looking like he hasn't broken sweat for the past two hours, while Murray takes a few deep breaths. A cheeky backhand dab ensures he holds.

*Djokovic 6-3 5-7 1-2 Murray

Neither of these are giving an inch on their serve. Murray keeps on upping his power, blasting past Djokovic, but he miscues a return forehand to give Djokovic his first point of the game. It doesn't last though, as Djokovic can't control another big slam and Murray holds.

Andy Murray
Reuters

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 1-1 Murray*

More assertive from Djokovic as he slams another serve past Murray. He looks more comfortable coming to the net and breaks his run of losing five in a row by holding to love. He has a few expansive stretches afterwards, while Murray has a quiet word with himself.

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Nuren: Murray has never beaten Djokovic after losing the 1st set. That stat is now in real jeopardy.

Folarin Olawale: That's what I'm talking about Sir Andy Murray. Now into the third and final set. Yes!!! Saving three match point. Wow.

joshua byers warner: That is why he is world number 1 #isandyturningingintogandalf

*Djokovic 6-3 5-7 0-1 Murray

Djokovic has celebrated the decider with a change of t-shirt. Murray holds the first game, dancing forward to the net again to keep Djokovic at bay.

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 Murray

This looked over 20 minutes ago. What a comeback from Murray. He looked frustrated midway through that game when he made a few silly errors that Djokovic capitalised on. Now it's Djokovic making the errors, and Murray looking like he's in control.

Game and second set Murray

Djokovic 6-3 5-7 Murray

That's lovely from Murray, a dinky backhand up at the net after Djokovic powered his way to the first point. Murray then beats him cross court and now it's Djokovic that is huffing, while Murray nods towards his box. He saves three match points and we're going into a decider. 

Andy Murray celebrates
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*Djokovic 6-3 5-6 Murray

This is just daft. Djokovic takes the first blow but Murray wins another rally with an aerial shot that somehow, somehow, lands in. Murray fires in from the baseline and Djokovic's head drops as he can't get near it. 

Djokovic then smashes his racket on the floor as he overhits another return and that's a penalty point from the referee. Game, Murray.

Murray breaks Djokovic

Djokovic 6-3 5-5 Murray*

Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Murray outmuscles Djokovic with two powerful volleys and now he's the one conducting the crowd, with Djokovic angrily ranting to himself.

Djokovic 6-3 5-4 (40-40) Murray*

Djokovic bounces the ball for an eternity, making Murray and the crowd wait. There's another lengthy rally and now Djokovic miscues, squandering a match point. Another two match points go begging for Djokovic, who is furiously raising his arms at the crowd, asking them to get him through. Murray remains composed, firing back everything Djokovic sends his way.

Djokovic 6-3 5-4 (40-40) Murray*

Another stunning rally, but this time it's Djokovic who comes out on top. He got a little lazy in that set but he belts a forehand past Murray, who roars in annoyance. That takes it to deuce.

Andy Murray reacts
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*Djokovic 6-3 5-4 Murray

Murray's not going down without a fight and sends down a big ace first up. Another giant ace gets a huge cheer from the crowd, although Murray looks more than a little irked with himself. He comes back to the net to secure the game.

Andy Murray serves
Reuters

Djokovic 6-3 5-3 Murray*

Djokovic has a wry grin and shake of the head as he hands Murray a point on a plate with a drop that doesn't have enough power on it. He nails an overhead volley though, nonchalantly smashing it away. He keeps his composure and wins the game. He's one away from taking the match.

Djokovic breaks Murray

*Djokovic 6-3 4-3 Murray

Djokovic slips trying to return Murray's serve and hits his head on the court. Murray clambers over the net to see if he's okay. He is and he races towards two break points, before Murray claws one back with another powerful serve. Djokovic isn't having it, though, and he breaks him for the second time.

Novak Djokovic reacts
Getty Images

Djokovic 6-3 3-3 Murray*

The rallies between these two are ridiculous. Murray raises his hand in apology as he somehow manages to whip the ball up from the line and into Djokovic's side of the court. Djokovic grins and gets his second break point with a powerful thwack that Murray can't return, and he secures the game before turning and ranting towards his box. He even wipes his face in an angry manner.

Djokovic 6-3 2-3 (40-40) Murray*

Murray comes out on top of another long rally, finally forcing the error from Djokovic after 27 shots. Both of them shimmy up to the net and they're both getting the crowd behind them. Murray lets out a roar that gets the crowd applauding, before Djokovic forces an error and does the same, waving his arms in encouragement at the crowd. 

*Djokovic 6-3 2-3 Murray

Another overhead from Djokvoic brings about chants of "let's go, Novak, let's go" from one hardy voice in the crowd. Murray spoils the kid's rhythm by coming up to the net and going a little defter. There's that traditional fist pump from Murray as he holds.

Djokovic 6-3 2-2 Murray*

Murray cranks up the power and Djokovic responds with a big backhand to secure the point. He's looking more confident moving forward now as he darts halfway to the net and thuds a return past Murray. 

Novak Djokovic
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Emil Antonios: Come one Sir Andy Murray you can do it you are the number one.

Andy Murray
Reuters

*Djokovic 6-3 1-2 Murray

A superb volley from Murray, tearing up to the net, beats Djokovic before the big serve comes out again. Murray goes overhead again and, this time, Djokovic misses out.

Djokovic 6-3 1-1 Murray*

Djokovic is strong on his serve but Murray ends a 21-shot rally with a powerful cross court shot. Djokovic takes his frustration out on a powerful volley, which leaves Murray muttering to himself, and a big shot overhead secures the game.

*Djokovic 6-3 0-1 Murray

Murray goes the Djokovic route and gets his first point with a nifty dab. Djokovic takes advantage of his second serve with a powerful return that Murray skews into the net, but Murray whips out his quickest serve to hold.

Andy Murray
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Djokovic 6-3 Murray*

Game and first set Djokovic

Djokovic 6-3 Murray

Djokovic, tail firmly up, opens up the court and Murray can't get his radar right. He yells in annoyance as he tries to lob and instead crashes into his net. Djokovic's response? A fiery cross court shot to take the set. 

Novak Djokovic celebrates
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Djokovic breaks Murray

*Djokovic 5-3 Murray

Murray's also cranked his pace up, securing two points with pacey serves before Djokovic beats him with a backhand down the line. It's a weird game from Murray, some good stuff mixed in with a few decidedly average shots that hand Djokovic a break point. And he's broken him!

*Djokovic 4-3 Murray

Djokovic 4-3 Murray*

Djokovic is animated now, punching and asking the crowd to get on his side as he slams past Murray. He puts a bit of extra fire into a forehand that surprises Murray to take a love service game.

Novak Djokovic reacts
Getty Images

*Djokovic 3-3 Murray

Murray thinks he's beaten Djokovic with a lob but his opponent replicates the shot with a tad more power and Murray watches it sail past him. Murray is a little ticked off, wiping his brow and yelling at himself to come on as he slices another return into the net for deuce. He wins an almighty rally with a deft backhand and holds.

Djokovic 3-2 Murray*

Djokovic's drop shot is a lovely thing. Murray can only huff as he comes charging cross court and watches the ball roll past him. He's still not happy with his thumb but Murray's forehand is wide and causes him no trouble.