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Top-Ranked Novak Djokovic Upended by Andy Murray in Dubai

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27:  Andy Murray of Great Britain plays a forehand in his semifinal match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day twelve of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

Stop the presses—Novak Djokovic has finally lost a match. Rival Andy Murray knocked off the Serbian superstar to end his unbeaten run to start the season, which included an Australian Open triumph.

Murray took the match in straight sets, 6-2 7-5, at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The tournament features several of the game's top stars. According to CNN, Djokovic had won the title in three consecutive years prior to today's defeat.

What It Means

Djokovic didn't come close to reaching his undefeated run to begin last season, which reached 43 matches before Roger Federer ended it at the French Open. Even though Djokovic will be disappointed to see his run end, it might actually take some pressure off him moving forward.

He's still the No. 1-ranked player in the world. As Murray illustrated, it takes a rock-solid effort to eliminate Djokovic from any tournament. “Djoker” has been a step above everybody else for more than a year, so until somebody else raises their game, he'll remain on top.

It's an important win for Murray. He's been working with new coach Ivan Lendl to bring some more aggressiveness to his game. Clearly, the results are starting to show. The Scot didn't just win, he controlled the match.

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What Happens Next?

Djokovic should get some rest. It won't be long before the schedule really starts picking up, and this season will be especially busy with the Olympics added to an already jam-packed slate of tournaments. So any free time is extremely valuable right now.

Murray will face off with the winner of the semifinal match between Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro in the championship match. In head-to-head matchups, Murray holds an edge over both Federer (8-6) and Del Porto (5-1).

Even though Dubai isn't a major, winning a tournament where so many big players are involved would be a huge boost for Murray's confidence moving forward. It's something he needs going into clashes with elite opponents at the business end of Grand Slam events.

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