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Djokovic battles back to deny Murray in Shanghai

By Ni Yinbin   (Shanghai Daily)

10:33, October 15, 2012

Serbia's Novak Djokovic kisses the Shanghai Rolex Masters trophy after beating Scotland's Andy Murray in the final at Qizhong Tennis Center yesterday. The Serb fought back from the brink of defeat to gain some measure of revenge for his loss to the Scot in the US Open final.(Shanghai daily/Dong Jun)

NOVAK Djokovic came back from the brink to beat Andy Murray 5-7, 7-6 (13-11), 6-3 in the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters last night to become the new champion of the event.

Close to 15,000 fans witnessed the longest match in the tournament's history which lasted three hours and 20 minutes.

With his first Shanghai title, the world's No.2 shortened the gap with top-ranked Roger Federer in the ATP men's ranking. The Swiss lost to Murray in the semifinals. Last night's win marked Djokovic's 500th career win,. It was also his fifth title this season and 33rd singles career title.

"He (Murray) was a better player here in Shanghai. We pulled up a great fight here and unfortunately there had to be one loser," Djokovic said. "We had so many rallies in three and a half hours ... for best-of-three set match (that) is a very long time."

"It could've easily gone the other way. He was five match points up, I tried to focus on each individually. He was so close to victory that I cannot say I was the better player," he added.

"I won the match. But, you know, as spectators could see, we were very close. It was a very even match throughout the whole three sets."

It was one of the best finals played here with plenty of long rallies and break points that brought the crowd to their feet.

Djokovic started well, kept his first service game and broke Murray's first. But the Scot got back into rhythm and broke Djokovic's following service. Both the players broke each other's service again. After being broken again in the 11th game, Djokovic smashed his racket on the ground.

And Murray, with strong defense, took the first set 7-5.

The turning point of the game came in the second set when Djokovic was on the edge of losing the game after being broken by Murray in the fourth service game and was 4-5 behind. The Serb made a 30-Love point through the legs, saving a match point in Murray's service, and tied the game 5-all. He then saved another couple of match points during the tiebreak and won the second set 7-6 (13-11).

On a high, Djokovic stamped his superiority to seal the match with a 6-3 win in the third.

"It's not like I threw the match away. I don't think I made any real glaring errors. When I had my chances, he just served very well and hit a couple of lines when he needed to."

"Yeah, it was a disappointing one to lose. But I've lost tougher matches than that before in the biggest events. So I'm sure I'll recover from it pretty well," he added dejectedly.

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