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Murray Ends Djokovic Dubai Run

Dubai, UAE

Murray© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsWorld No. 4 Andy Murray is chasing his second ATP World Tour title of the season.

World No. 4 Andy Murray denied Novak Djokovic the chance to win a fourth successive Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title, beating the World No. 1 6-2, 7-5 on Friday. Murray will play four-time former champion Roger Federer in the final.

The Scot had lost to Djokovic in five sets in the Australian Open semi-finals in January, but powerful, precision hitting saw him avenge that defeat in 82 minutes in dusty conditions at The Aviation Club.

"I've had a lot of tough losses in my career," said Murray. "To come back from them hasn't always been that easy. I think it's big for me that after Australia this year I've come back and had a win like tonight.

"Hopefully that will set me up well for the year. Confidence in tennis and almost any individual sport is so important. A win like tonight will do that no harm; therefore, mentally I'm sure I'll be stronger."

Murray is through to his second ATP World Tour final of the season, having won his 22nd title at the Brisbane International (d. Dolgopolov) in January. He has won his past 22 matches at ATP World Tour 500-level and below, taking in four titles since defeat to Marcos Baghdatis in Rotterdam a year ago.

The 24-year-old Djokovic saw his 18-match winning streak come to an at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament, having won the title from 2009-2011. He was also riding a 10-match winning run this season, having opened by claiming his fifth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open (d. Nadal).

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"Andy played a great match," said Djokovic. "He was the better player today. He was serving really well. I made a lot of unforced errors when it was important. It's been a great tournament here in Dubai. Look forward to Indian Wells, Miami, which are the next tournaments, next challenges. I think I have more than enough time to get ready for it."

Murray broke through in the sixth game of the first set, benefitting from a spate of Djokovic errors, and reeled off the final two games of the set to take a commanding lead. The Scot rode his momentum at the start of the second set and quickly established a 3-0 lead.

Serving for the match at 5-3, Murray’s level dipped slightly, and Djokovic capitalised on the Scot’s unforced errors to draw level at 5-5. Murray quickly regrouped, though, and broke serve in the 12th game to claim victory as Djokovic netted a forehand.

"The first set I served very well and was aggressive when I had my chances," reflected Murray. "In the second set he started going for more and making mistakes because of that, because it's tough to always grind out matches. I think that was the difference.

"It wasn't an amazing standard. I still think I could've played better as well. I'm sure Novak feels the same. So that's actually a good sign for me that maybe not playing my best tennis I could still win against him."

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