Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray played for the 12th time in the 2012 Dubai semi-final. Murray scored a 6-2, 7-5 victory in an hour and 23 minutes, defeating Djokovic for the fifth time and ending the Serb’s streak of 18 consecutive wins in the desert.
Seeking the fourth straight Dubai crown, Novak found himself 6-2, 5-2 down in no time before performing a comeback to level the score at 5-5. Still, Andy stayed calm and claimed the last two games that carried him over the top.
Asked about a memorable last year’s Rome semi-final encounter, Murray said he did not think about it in the second set’s closing stages. In Rome 2011, Novak prevailed over Andy 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 in three hours and two minutes for one of his most challenging wins that season and a place in the final against Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic advanced into the 15th Masters 1000 final following an epic battle, especially in the deciding set that went down to the wire. Novak earned the 36th victory from as many matches that year and delivered a crucial return game at 4-5 in the final set to stay on the positive side and emerge at the top.
Thanks to that one-sided opening set, Djokovic claimed eight points more than Murray and defended five out of ten break chances. Andy suffered six breaks from 13 opportunities offered to Novak, building the lead in the shortest rallies and allowing the Serb to erase that deficit in the more extended ones and cross the finish line first.
Djokovic claimed the opener with a service winner at 5-1 after 42 minutes, hoping for more of the same in the second. Instead, Murray grabbed a break at 3-2 in set number two after Djokovic’s forehand mistake, saved a break point in the next one and closed it with a forehand winner for a 5-2 advantage.
Andy secured the set with a backhand winner at 5-3 to force a decider and bring more drama and excitement.
Novak Djokovic prevailed over Andy Murray in Rome 2011.
Novak opened a 3-1 gap in the final set before losing serve in the next game thanks to Andy’s forehand return winner.
Losing ground a bit, Djokovic 13 of the last 17 points to suffer another break in game seven after a double fault and a forehand mistake. World no. 2 broke back in game eight before losing serve in the next one after a 23-stroke rally.
Murray became the first player who served to win against Djokovic in 2011 and could not endure the pressure. Novak clinched the third break chance after Andy’s double fault, locked the result at 5-5 and moved 5-1 up in the tie break after a backhand winner.
A perfect lob pushed Djokovic 6-2 ahead, and he seized the first match point to seal the deal and unleash a massive roar. “I should have defeated Novak Djokovic in Rome last year. Still, I was not thinking about that match in the second set’s closing stages, trying to stay focused and seal the deal without playing a decider,” Andy Murray said.