On this day: Andy Murray downs Novak Djokovic to set Roger Federer Dubai clash



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On this day: Andy Murray downs Novak Djokovic to set Roger Federer Dubai clash

At the beginning of 2011, Andy Murray lost another Major final to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne in straight sets and found form again on clay and grass to follow the pace on Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. By the end of the season, Murray conquered Cincinnati, Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai, withdrawing after one match at the ATP Finals and preparing for a fresh start of 2012.

The new season brought an instant title for Andy in Brisbane before the Australian Open semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic in five sets. Andy took a well-deserved rest ahead of Dubai, where he reached the last four and set another Novak Djokovic clash on March 2.

It was the 12th encounter between the coevals, and Murray grabbed the fifth victory, beating Djokovic 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 23 minutes to set the final match against Roger Federer. The Briton fended off two out of three break chances and stole 42% of the return points, claiming four breaks from five opportunities to control the pace and close the match after a tight second set.

Andy had more winners than unforced errors while Novak sprayed too many mistakes, struggling to find the return rhythm or impose his shots in the rallies. The Serb held at love in the opening two service games, and that all changed at 2-3 when his forehand landed long, pushing Murray in front before creating two break chances in the next one.

Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets in Dubai 2012 semi-final.

Andy stayed calm and took four straight points, closing the game with a service winner to extend the advantage to 5-2 and take a big step towards the opener.

Losing ground in those moments, Novak got broken at 15 in game eight after Murray's backhand winner, giving the set away in half an hour and sending momentum to Andy's side of the court. Things went from bad to worse for the Serb, who sent a forehand wide in the second set's second game to suffer a break at 15 before Andy held with a backhand down the line winner for a 3-0 advantage.

With no room for errors, Novak held at love in game four but couldn't do much on the return in games five and seven, sending Murray 5-2 up and serving to stay in the match. The Serb held at 15 in game eight to reduce the deficit and broke back in the last moment a few minutes later to prolong the set and gain a massive boost.

The defending champion leveled the score at 5-5 when Andy netted a forehand, looking better and better and trying to produce a complete turnaround and steal the set. The Briton delivered a much-needed hold at 15 with an ace to end his downfall and created two match points in the next game after Djokovic's backhand mistake. The Serb netted a forehand to hand the game and the match to Murray, who faced Roger Federer in the trophy battle.