It's Murray v. Djokovic In Doha Final
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are starting 2017 right where they left off in 2016. On Saturday, the two will play for the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title, the first singles crown to be decided during the young 2017 ATP World Tour season.
“It's a great test tomorrow. To start the year, it's great to play against one of the best in the world,” Murray said. “We know each other's games better than we know anyone else's.”
Murray advanced to the title match by beating third seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-4 on Friday evening. The Scot extended two streaks with the one-hour and 41-minute victory. Murray pushed his overall winning streak to 28. He also beat Berdych for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to a 2015 Australian Open semi-final victory.
Their semi-final match in Doha was never in doubt. Murray broke to lead 4-1 in the first set and clinched the opener on his third set point. The Scot earned two breaks in the second set and controlled the match on his racquet, winning almost 80 per cent of his first-serve points.
Earlier on Friday, second seed Djokovic moved into the title contest by saving five match points and beating Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-3 in two hours and 22 minutes. Djokovic will try to repeat as champion in Doha; Murray will be going for his third Doha title (also 2008, '09).
Djokovic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 24-11. The two last played in November during the ATP Finals title match, which was the last match of the 2016 season. The year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking was on the line, and Murray won 6-3, 6-4. No matter what happens on Saturday, though, the Scot will stay No. 1.