Novak Djokovic Defends Doha Title, Beats Rival Andy Murray In 3 Set Thriller
by Staff | January 8th, 2017, 1:00 am

Novak Djokovic got back in the win column for the first time in six months and he did it by beating main rival Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the final of the Doha.

Djokovic, who won the Doha title last year, had to save five match points in a comeback win Friday to beat Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals.

But in the final, Djokovic showed no early signs of sloppiness playing some of the best tennis he’s put together in many months. Djokovic shook off an early bloody finger and a tumble when he hit his head on the hardcourt, to secure the first set and a second set lead convincingly.

The Serb looked well on his way to victory serving for the match in the second at 5-4, but let slip three match points opportunities.

Murray broke back and then held after a frustrated Djokovic, who already had received a ball abuse warning, smashed his racquet in frustration giving Murray the game. Still upset, Djokovic was promply broken again, this time for the set.

It was all even but momentum had clearly swung Murray’s way.

Djokovic, who was 19-0 against Murray when winning the first set, tightened his grip in the third, earning a break to go up 4-3 and this time was able to close it out for his 67th career title in 2 hours, 54 minutes.

“Best scenario I could ask for in the beginning of the season,” Djokovic said. “Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against the No. 1 of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match.

“He’s such a great defender and he is fighting so much and always gets the ball back,” he added. “It was really, really thrilling performance from both of us. Just a great way to start the year.”

Djokovic not only used his penetrating groundstrokes, but an improved overhead and lots of net play, winning 24 of 35 at the net.

“If he’s not the best defender in the game of all-time then he’s right at the top 2, 3,” explained Djokovic. “When you play somebody who always gets an extra ball back, you know, it’s a game of cat and mouse in a way.

“You have to construct the point well and find the right time to approach, but you need to come in,” he said. “He was also coming into the net. Maybe less than I did, but I know that with aggressive style but kind of controlled aggressive style of play is the way to win.

“That’s why I was at the net.”

The loss for Murray snaps his 28 match win streak and five tournament title streak. He has still made the finals of 13 of his last 14 events, missing only the US Open.

“Obviously disappointed not to win tonight, but I played pretty good the last couple of the matches,” Murray said. “I think physically it was a good test to start the year, and I did good there. My body feels all right just now, so that’s positive.”

Murray finished a sparlking 17 of 18 at the net, but was just 2/7 on break chances and won just 47% on second serves.

“I did have a few chances,” Murray lamented. “I had a break point at 3-2; in the last game I had Love-30 on Novak’s serve and played a couple loose shots.

“I think I had the first break point in the first set as well; didn’t get it. He had one and took it. That was the difference this evening.”

Djokovic’s title also keeps him on pace to regain No. 1 in Australia should he win the title and Murray fail to make the last four.

He also improves to 25-11 against his rival Murray in their first ever meeting at an ATP 250 event. And the win avenges a loss in the London ATP Finals which game Murray the year-end No. 1 ranking.

“Every match we play is a huge challenge,” Djokovic said. “You have to accept and expect a great battle. Whether it’s a 250 or 1000 event or Grand Slam final, doesn’t change much, to be honest.

“You saw tonight how much we both wanted to win. Playing against your biggest rival always adds a little bit more flavor to the game and to the match.”


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51 Comments for Novak Djokovic Defends Doha Title, Beats Rival Andy Murray In 3 Set Thriller

Travis Bickle Says:

Congratulations to Sir Murray for becoming a member of Novak Djokovic “25-Club” !!!

Nadal, Berdych and now Murray have lost at least 25 times against Novak.

Federer is the next most probable candidate to enter this club. Needs only 1 or 2 defeats, depending on how one calculates H2H. It may happen this year, assuming Federer with his low ranking reaches late rounds and actually be in situation to face Novak…

jane Says:


@DjokerNole 5th multiple @QatarTennis champion:

rogerfederer 3
Djokovic 2
andy_murray 2
Stefan Edberg 2
Petr Korda 2

Danica Says:

““If he’s not the best defender in the game of all-time then he’s right at the top 2, 3,” explained Djokovic. “When you play somebody who always gets an extra ball back, you know, it’s a game of cat and mouse in a way.”

Nice praise and acknowledgement from Nole, but look who’s talking!! :)

Indeed, seems like there is no ball Andy can’t get to. He is also fast and very stable on his feet (something Nole’s been lacking recently).

theDA Says:

@Travis Bickle – Congrats to Nole finally getting the better of the H2H vs Federer. For 6 years there were only 2 players to have positive H2Hs vs Federer: Rafa and Andy. Federer finally corrected it after Andy’s return from the back op.Nole finally achieved it last year *claps* ;)

Chrisford1 Says:

For iron wall defense I’d give Djokovic the edge in this era over Andy, Rafa – who also have awesome defenses with the ability to turn a ball unreachable to 99% of the players into a winner. Hard to say who else in the past played such defense…especially given there were times in the fast court, serve&volley past where a great defense was of substantially less value to winning than now.
Hard to say “all time” because of the 80s, 90s racket technology, fast courts. There might have been a player or two in those times to rival 3 of the Big 4, someone like like Marcelo Rios if he was taught a baseline defense oriented tennis style if the courts were slowed down in the 90s, , but we will never truly know.

AndyMira Says:

With Novak win again in Doha,it’s automatically gonna take a pressure off from Andy tremendously heading to Melbourne,which is very very good for Andy…Hope he will succeed this time….C’MON GUYS!BRING IT ON!!

Van Persie Says:

Novak’s win in Doha took only the pressure of the winning streak off. Andy still keeps the pressure of Nr.1 and the pressure of AO, where he lost 5 finals. It is like Novak’s FO complex from the past. Andy will play with pressure for sure. Is a good test for him.

Novak will be the chill one for once and the win in Doha increased his confidence.

Still, Andy is the favorite for winning AO. But will be not easy.

Margot Says:

Danica: Nole is the best defender on the ATP tour. Andy can’t beat him from the baseline, but Andy is better at the net. He won the 2nd set because he started taking it to Nole. In the 3rd he was back to his behind the baseline rubbish and lost.
Perhaps I’ll send Clarissa over to OZ with this vital piece of info. because it’s quite clear none of his team can be talking this tactic with him!

FedExpress Says:

Nole got the better of his h2h vs fed when fed was 34 years old. So please some perspective.

Wog Boy Says:

“Nole got the better of his h2h vs fed when fed was 34 years old. So please some perspective.”

Agree, Roger got the better of his h2h vs Nole when Nole was a puppy. So please some perspective.

On the long run things even up, no?

Wog Boy Says:

What a point, behind the back, by Thiem against Tomic, this boy is really getting under my skin, positive way, go Dominic, I am talking about Fast4Tennis in Sydney, Rafa lost to Nick, it was pretty competitive match considering it is exhibition.

Emilia Says:

Somebody please explain what is H2H?

J.S. Says:

WOG – I couldn’t get it to play (channel7) how did Rafa look??

Emilia….H2H Head to Head

Daniel Says:

There is some truth to the one beat a young one and the other beat a old one argument. BUt to get a clear perspective you vae to see how many matches they play under both scenarios.

your words that “thinbgs even out” in the end doesn~t hold true, because if they play 10 times more DJoko most likelly will win 8 out of 10 if not more.

It depends on how many matches they played duign each other dominance periods.

Fed ended in 2010 and Djoko began in 2011. We have to count that, but pretty much they will play more matches during Fed´s worst years hence the HxH will be slightly in Djoko´s favor.

Complete difference situation with Nadal, who always created problems for Federer who never had a positiv HxH in any period. That ship has sailed long ago;-)

With Murray I think it will be similar to Djoko, they will pretty much be even by the time Fed retires, with 1 or 2 matches difference tops.

Giles Says:

Looks like the joker fans have gone barking mad again!

Chrisford1 Says:

Daniel, are you saying Andy will be roughly even with Novak, or roughly equal with Roger – when Fed retires?

Novak is 19-0 over Andy when he wins the 1st set? Ouch! Although it no doubt is another streak that should not have happened by logic, definite area of improvement for Murray. Can he win when he starts off down a set?? And if I was someone other than Novak facing Andy, taking the 1st set is something to pull out the stops on, and go for it.

Andy is down 3 games 14-11 in h2h against Federer. Probably would be closer but Fed got several matches when Andy was (1)suffering back problems (2)recovering from back surgery.
I favor Andy beating Fed everywhere but Dubai and Cincinnati, but I also think he will have few encounters with Federer in 2017. And I believe 2017 is Federer’s last year. (And Venus & Serenas)

Willow Says:

I Dont think Federer has any intention of retiring from tennis anytime soon ….

Truth Says:

Fed quit for 6 months because he became a Djokerdal turkey within 2012-2014.
He knew if he waited for Nadal & nole injuries, he could boast of his extreme longevity.
After years of being confused about his purpose on tour, Nole wants to play for 10 years.
Fed’s seething with anger. Unravelling!

Fed was so used to doing little to beat the powerless Hewitt, Ferrer, fat Roddick and emaciated Davydenko. He’s like Hewitt. From hero to zero by age 26. At the 29th year, they needed luck to win any title. “I wish there were more Benneteaus at Wimbledon.”

It’s not Nole’s prob that Fed can’t handle showing up for schooling.
Fed could beat anyone, but Nole takes him to the woodshed.
So Fed calls himself an old man.
Cincy trophy is a freebie that Nole gifts all his turkeys.
Murray had bad luck in 2014. Otherwise, Fed wouldn’t have looked so great at Wimbledon.

Wog Boy Says:

All I can say Daniel, by Federer own words, he played his best tennis in 2014/2015 and made three GS finals and if it wasn’t for Nole he would’ve have 20 GS titels today, so your theory doesn’t really hold water, you are comparing apples and oranges, 19/20 years old Nole and 2014/15 Federer.
As I said before you are good in doing it (putting post together to suit your argument) and I like to read your posts.

Daniel Says:


I mean Andy will have an even HxH with Federer or be above by 1, 2 matches me thinks.

Federer is gonna measure his schedule. He will only play Madrid and maybe RG. He will almost skip clay completely, he doesn’t want to drag there, and no point in it at 35-36.

He knows his only decent phase is: Halle-Wimbledon-Torobto (may withdraw)-Cincy-USO-Shangai-Basel-Paris (depend on how he fares Shangai and Basel)-WTF.

So this is basically 6 tournaments where he will go full throttle, the new he won multiple (more than 5 times before); Halle-Wimny-Cincy-USO-Basel-WTF. We can add Dubai on it as well.

Anything else he knows he has almost zero chance of winning.


Well, we agree to disagree, I don’t think 2014/2015 comes nowhere near close to Federer’s best, because I just think none can play his best at 32-33 when we saw what he was able to do at 25-26. it’s just impossible, physically and with all the mileage, and big loses you accumulate. Sometimes there is nothing like confidence of youth. Just look what Nadal was like in 2006-2008 or Novak in 2011. 2015 may be Djoko’s ultimate year results wise, but 2011 he was a monster, almost unbeatable again and again reverting matches and holding a disbelief Nadal who at that point, really thought he could be GOAT in a few months.

Wog Boy Says:

Sneak peak from last night fast4tennis match in packed brand new Sydney Convention Center, it was fun to watch Rafa, Nick, Dominic and well Tomic;)

And this is where the played, just opened up, state of art convention and exhibition center, you can see at 1:40 theatre where they played, 8000 seats:

Chrisford1 Says:

Daniel – in terms of impact, Djokovic’s 2011 mattered more than his 2015 and 6 statistical achievements. Because that year started with the Nike Co-GOATS who loved one another and even though in hindsight Rafa had established clear domination – fans and media believed “The Maestro” would adjust and begin beating Rafa.
Djokovic – I became a fan in 2007, and while I thought he would one day regularly take matches from Roger and Rafa – that is not what the media saw. For them, it was Andy and Novak, stuck in 3rd and 4th place, great talents, but how could they be compared to the co-GOATS they were stuck behind?? Both of the Gods in their prime…..
We know the answer. It shocked the tennis world like few other events unfolding in the Open Era did. Nole 2.0 destroyed the field and no two people were caught off guard and consternated like Uncle Toni and Rafa. In 2010 Rafa was near invincible. In 2011, nothing Rafa tried against Novak worked. Fed fans, the legions including the tennis writers, didn’t know what to think….should they boo Djokovic or cheer him as Guardian of All Roger’s Records that Rafael Nadal threatened??

Truth Says:

Fed fans were out in droves to defend Fed’s honor. Giving him sportsmanship awards and praising his morality, classiness, modesty, virtues, whatever they were. 10 years of trying to get rid of Nole’s confidence.
It wasn’t Nadal, who was off tour for almost a year, that fought with all his might.
It was the “Chia hair clown” that had heroicism up his sleeve.
Even the disappointment of injury in 2011 made Novak a strong player.
2015-16 were highlights.
Fed, in contrast, was always the same, no matter how much propaganda put him on a pedestal.
He was the victim, his fans said. Why?
Because Nole beat him instead of the 14 slam winner? Lmao

Everyone else just saw Fed getting lucky and reserved judgment until he was 28-30. They were correct in expecting Nole to be supreme. Fed was desperate to keep Nole out of the picture because Nole was the only one with raging intensity and domination over the opponents. It had nothing to do with doing ballet twirls. It was talent to hurt Fedal. I don’t think most people were shocked and dumbfounded, unless they were Fed gloryhunters.
Fed was the most delusional tennis player to hold a racket, and faked love for Roddick, whom he laughed at. He tried to fake sincerity to that incredibly abusive tyrannical idiot/abomination to tennis. Fed was no GOAT.
Nadal must stop denying the truth, since weak era Roddick clearly was no expert on Fed. LOL!

Willow Says:

Truth I Have no idea what your talking about, other than you seem to have some secret obsession with Roddick, i mean for gods sake the guy retired years ago ….

Willow Says:

Thankyou for the links Wogboy ….

Willow Says:

Fedexpress @ 5.31 am January 9th, and we can also say because Nadal was pst his best ….

jalep Says:

Well, whatever is going on for Truth… it’s not much of a secret obsession, Willow. It’s…unintelligible for sure and definitely there an old horse to flog. I think it’s maybe a reply of solidarity of some sort for CF1’s post.

jalep Says:

Anyway…in the midst of it. I forgot what I’d come to say. Take care, Willow. There’s some good tennis going on.

Tennisfansince1976 Says:

@chrisford1 try borg he was a sick defender. As fast or faster than the top players of today.

AndyMira Says:

Hey J…saya tengok banyak warna merah dalam WTA Sydney bracket awak…I didn’t know that you love RED sooooo much!He he he..

jalep Says:

I’m still laughing AM…I’ll need a few more minutes to recover! And those few words you taught me in Malay escape me right now. TK…..

jalep Says:

alright…whew. So happy you are in the bracket. AM…awak tak tahu ke saya sukakan warna merah berbanding hijau..Take that AM…I prefer red to green!

AndyMira Says:

J…I have to thank you for lifting my mood..when i saw my Sydney ATP..i felt so gloom but when i saw your Sydney WTA…I suddenly don’t felt so gloom anymore!..WOW!!I’ve never seen so much RED in my wholeeee life!!ha ha ha…

AndyMira Says:

YAY!!!..J..You can speak Malay!!..Now you can come to Malaysia..I want to buy you dinner with the food you love most…The Best chicken curry you ever eat in your whole life!!

SG1 Says:

“Fed was the most delusional tennis player to hold a racket, and faked love for Roddick, whom he laughed at. He tried to fake sincerity to that incredibly abusive tyrannical idiot/abomination to tennis. Fed was no GOAT.”

LOL! I had no idea Donald Trump was on here. And who knew he was such a rabid tennis fan? And his name..”Truth”…hysterical. First Twitter and Instagram, now Tennis-X.

SG1 Says:

For a delusional guy and a phony GOAT, he’s beaten Novak, Nadal and Murray (…and yes, Roddick) more than his share of times. Sometimes it’s hard to read what others are saying with all the noise.

Truth (or should I say Donald?), please turn it down a bit.

mat4 Says:

My best wishes in thus new year to all the posters and staff of Tennis-x!

And, especially, my best wishes to the numerous Nole fans on this site, jane, Danica, WB, Travis, CF1, Ben, Daniel, and others I forgot.

A hello, too, to the old guard, Skeez, TF76 (who seems to be posting again), AH aka Willow.

madmax Says:

Truth Says: (about Fed – who else?)

January 10th, 2017 at 5:26 am

Do be quiet won’t you? I always come back to the same. If you really don’t like the guy, personally (do you know him? Have you met him?), or like his style of play – then you know what you can do? That’s right. Walk away truth. Walk away. I dare you, truth. Truth or Dare?

Margot Says:

Donald “Truth” Trump, you say? How splendid to have him here posting gibberish ….um no…

jalep Says:

Well Ben doesn’t post here anymore – thanks to TB’s obsession to go back through the archives and bring out a bunch of #$%^ to bully and harass him.

sinha71 Says:

47-57 more than a GOATs share?

Is it the new maths? Or are standards relaxed.

However, I think Roger can win Australia which would make it undisputed.

jalep Says:

AM… I have something to reply but I have it written down somewhere…have to go find it.

skeezer Says:

Hey Mat4!

Do not expect for Fed to win AO, it is his first Slam since coming back. No way. What I do expect is some potential big upsets early to mid rounds. This is going to be a very interesting AO.

J-Kath Says:

AM: I would love to have your Chicken curry menu – maybe in the off-tennis season.

AndyMira Says:

@J…Oh really??I’m waiting….

@JK…Please have my virtual chicken curry…I cooked it especially for you..

Willow Says:

Jalep @7.54am LOL You rock girl ;-)

AndyMira Says:

Hey J…RBA has withdrawn from Auckland and i picked him for a winner!And now my bracket will also full of RED!!And i’m going to lose top spot to kpuppy737…Hate RBA!

Willow Says:

AndyMira the chicken curry looks delicious, can you put the recipe on FB ?, many thanks in advance ;-) ….

J-Kath Says:

Hey You Andy Mira:

You did it. Good lass. How about that! So prompt. Have copied the thread and will have a good read tomorrow (it’s time to drag an unwilling body to bed) and will look forward to making it for my favourite Sis. and whoever else comes with her early next month….likely to be 4 humans (and 2 dogs).

Fingers crossed for a good AO for Rafa – his move up the ladder will happen. We’ll have the AO draw on Friday!!!!!!!!!

AndyMira Says:

@JK…Always at your service ma’am!About Rafa…don’t dare to think much about his chances at AO JK…somehow he and AO doesn’t get along well in my knowledge…But THANKS for your goooood wishes JK….Have a sweet dream in la la land!

AndyMira Says:

@Willow…Sure thing sis!

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