Qatar Open: Novak Djokovic tops Andy Murray in classic final

    Novak Djokovic was at his pugnacious best as he saw off arch-rival Andy Murray in three sets in Doha.

    Story highlights

    • Novak Djokovic wins Qatar Open
    • Beats No. 1 Andy Murray in epic final
    • Grigor Dimitrov into Brisbane final
    • France wins Hopman Cup

    (CNN)If this was a taste of things to come in 2017, then tennis fans are in for a real treat.

    Novak Djokovic ended Andy Murray's 28-match unbeaten run after a captivating near three-hour struggle under the lights in Doha Saturday to retain his Qatar Open crown.
      The 6-3 5-7 6-4 scoreline tells only half the story as top-ranked Murray saved three match points when Djokovic served for victory in the second set before forcing the decider.
      The quality of tennis in that second set was breathtaking and Murray, who beat his Serbian rival to win the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of last season, then looked favorite to come out on top again.
      Britain's Andy Murray produced stunning tennis to claw his way back into the match at one set all in Doha.
      But Djokovic, who needed treatment for a bleeding finger, dug still deeper and after coming under intense pressure from the Scot on his own service crucially broke to lead 4-3.
      Serving for the match at 5-4, Djokovic fell 0-30 down, but retrieved the situation and closed out the match on his fourth championship point.
      Djokovic, who had produced an escape act of his own to save five match points against Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals, was pleased to return to his best after a disappointing finish to 2016 which saw him lose his top ranking to Murray.
      "It means a lot to me because in the last three months of last season I did not feel confident like that," Djokovic told Eurosport.
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      "To start the year like that is a dream start," he added.
      It was the 29-year-old's first title since the Rogers Cup in Canada last July and he will go to Australia for this defense of the first grand slam title of the season in fine fettle.
      Murray, who will retain his No. 1 ranking, was beaten by Djokovic in the Australian and French Open finals in 2016 before winning Wimbledon, Olympic gold and the ATP end-of-season showpiece event in London to go to top in the world for the first time.
      He has yet to beat Djokovic in a three-set match after losing the opening set, but was pleased with his overall performance in becoming the first man to reach the final in Qatar four times.
      "It was a great way to start the new year, playing like that," he said at the trophy presentation.

      Dimitrov wins Brisbane title

      With the buildup to the Australian Open in full swing, Grigor Dimitrov followed up his upset win over top seed Milos Raonic by beating Kei Nishikori in the final of the Brisbane International event.
      The Bulgarian won his first title in two and half years, overcoming the Japanese third seed 6-2 2-6 6-3 on Sunday.
      Nishikori, who beat US Open champion Stan Wawrinka in his Saturday semi, has now lost his last five ATP finals.
      Dimitrov, once ranked as high as eighth in the world, is hoping to continue his career revival.
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      "It's been quite a few months for me on and off the court," said the 25-year-old, who has risen 23 places to 17th in the standings since mid-2016.
      "I'm pretty humbled, because I have set myself quite high goals for the first six months and one of them was actually to win a tournament. And it happened during the first week of the year, which makes things definitely look a lot more positive for me."
      In the Hopman Cup, France beat the United States 2-1 in the final of the mixed team competition in Perth.
      Roger Federer made his comeback to tennis at the tournament, his Swiss team losing out to France in the semifinals, but it was Richard Gasquet who produced the heroics in the title match.
      He beat Jack Sock in a tense three-set battle and then paired with Kristina Mladenovic to win the deciding mixed doubles against Sock and Coco Vandewehge.