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Murray sets up Djokovic final

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 07-01-2017
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Andy Murray will meet Novak Djokovic in the Qatar Open final after the world's top two came through their Friday semi-finals.

The world number one needed 1hr and 41mins to do the damage and mark his opening event of the year with a final as well as a remarkable 28th consecutive victory to remain on course for a sixth tournament victory in succession

Next up for Murray will be Djokovic who saved five match points to see off Spain's Fernando Verdasco and reach his second consecutive Qatar Open final.

The Serb beat Rafael Nadal in last year's final and will face Murray in a repeat of November's World Tour Finals showdown where Murray triumphed to claim the title and the year-end world number one ranking.

In fact, the pair met in five finals last year, two of them Grand Slams and 2017 will begin with the rivalry resuming in Doha on Saturday afternoon.

Murray, seeking a third title in Qatar, has won his last six meetings with the Czech and he made it seven with a dominant victory that saw him broken just once on his way to victory.

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The Scot broke Berdych in his second service game of each set and while it proved to be enough to claim the opener, the 29-year-old was forced to work a touch harder to claim the second - Berdych saving two match points before Murray prevailed.

Berdych had hit back with an immediate break of serve to level the second set at two games each before Murray made it three breaks of serve in succession and was enough to end Berdych's challenge despite a couple of flurries from the world number ten.

Murray's match followed Djokovic's 2hr 22min epic against Verdasco, although it could have been over sooner had the Spaniard delivered on two sets of scintillating tennis.

Having struck with a crucial break late in the first set to claim the opener, Verdasco broke in the opening game of the second set to look on course for a routine victory.

However Djokovic rallied to break back in the fourth game and with the set on serve the Serb withstood a blistering assault on his serve at 4-4 before prevailing against his 33-year-old opponent in an epic tie-break.

Verdasco saw four match points go begging from 6-2 in front and then again at 6-6 before Djokovic took the first set point opportunity to come his way and level the match before running out a comfortable winner in the decisive set.

"It's definitely one of the most exciting matches I have played," Djokovic said.

"I haven't saved five match points many times. He (Verdasco) should have finished it off. I'm obviously very pleased, because you need these kind of matches, these kind of confidence boosters, for whatever is coming up after that."

Djokovic leads the head-to-head with Murray 24-11 but Murray has two wins from their last three encounters including a brilliant 6-3 6-4 success to claim the title at London's O2 just a couple of months ago.

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