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Novak Djokovic claims Qatar Open with statement win over Andy Murray

Novak Djokovic sent a warning to rival and world number one Andy Murray with a thrilling victory in the final of the Qatar Open on Saturday. Murray's defeat ends the Briton's 28-match, five-tournament winning streak.

Novak Djokovic claimed his second consecutive Qatar Open title with a 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory over Andy Murray, the man who toppled him as world number one late last year.

In an epic match of superb quality in Doha, Djokovic looked back to his best but missed out on three match points and had to repel a roaring Murray comeback before ending the Briton's 28-match, five-tournament winning streak.

In their first meeting since Murray won their season-ending climax at the ATP World Tour finals, the Briton ran into a rejuvenated Djokovic who, despite having problems with his racket hand and receiving two warnings for his behavior, prevailed thrillingly in their 36th contest.

Doha Tennis-ATP-Turnier in Katar Djokovic gegen Murray (Getty Images/AFP/K. Jaafar)

Andy Murray is looking to win his first Australian Open this month, despite appearing in five of the last seven finals in Melbourne

The world number two said it was "the dream start" to 2017 in his build-up to the defense of the Australian Open title later this month. Murray, meanwhile, faced defeat by his rival for the 25th time.

"It was close, a very physical battle. All the way to the last shot, you never know with Andy. It's no strange occurrence for us to play three sets for three hours," Djokovic told Eurosport.

"It means a lot. For the last three months of 2016, I haven't felt that confident on court and didn't play that consistent. But to start 2017 with a win over the world number one and my biggest rival was a dream start so I'm hoping I can get the best out of it."

mds (AFP)