Doha: Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to defend his Qatar ExxonMobil Open title and exact revenge on the World No. 1 tennis star.
In an electrifying final here on Saturday, the Serbian captured his first title since July (Rogers Cup) and showed some of the fiery tennis that helped him dominate the first half of 2016, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) website.
The 29-year-old frequently encouraged the crowd to back him, lifting his arms and pumping his fist while staring into the stands.
"Best scenario I could ask for at the beginning of the season. Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against No. 1 of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match," Djokovic said after the match.
"It was a really, really thrilling performance from both of us. Just a great way to start the year."
Djokovic's intense attitude was matched by his aggressive on-court play. He charged the net 35 times against Murray, winning almost 70 per cent of those points during the two-hour, 54-minute final.
"You have to construct the point well and find the right time to approach, but you need to come in," Djokovic said.
"That controlled, aggressive style of play is the way to win."
But Murray displayed his own brand of competitive tennis, especially when Djokovic was trying to serve out the match during the second set.
The Serbian had three championship points while serving at 5-4 but Murray erased them all and won the next two games to force a decider.
The Djokovic win ends Murray's 28-match win streak, which dated back to September when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in Davis Cup action.
That streak featured five consecutive titles, including November's ATP Finals crown when Murray beat Djokovic for the season-ending title and the year-end No.1 ATP ranking.