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Murray sees the positives in spite of defeat by arch-rival

By Robert Jones

Andy Murray believes there is more to come from him in 2017 as he switches focus to success at the Australian Open following a dramatic three-set defeat to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Qatar Open.

Defending champion Djokovic appeared to be heading for a straight sets win in Doha, but Murray saved three match points before taking the tie to a decider.

The Scot, who received a knighthood in the New Year's Honours, had the first opportunity to break in the final set.

But he failed to take it and then could not hold a subsequent service game as Djokovic dug in to put himself on course for a 6-3 5-7 6-4 success in a match which lasted almost three hours.

Murray, though, saw plenty of positives, despite coming off second best in the first meeting between the two players since the Briton knocked his rival off the world number one spot .

"Physically it was a good test to start the year, and I did good there. Obviously I am disappointed not to win tonight, but I played pretty good the last couple of matches," Murray said at a press conference.

"My body feels all right just now, so that's positive. It was a little bit sore earlier in the week after the first couple of the matches, but I felt better each day and I think it is positive.

"I still think there are things I can do better, because I wasn't that clinical on break points this week, which maybe comes with playing a few more matches."

It was a first defeat for Murray following a remarkable run since losing to Juan Martin del Potro when playing for Great Britain in the semi-final of the Davis Cup in September. The 29-year-old added: "I still think I have a chance of winning the Australian Open after tonight. I don't think that changes."

Djokovic is focused on wrestling back that number one slot from Murray in what looks like being a fascinating contest ahead.

The Serbian said: "We both felt like if every match we are going to play against each other is going to be this way this season, we are going to have a fun time.

"This was the best scenario I could ask for at the beginning of the season, playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against the number one of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match. It is something that definitely can serve as a positive incentive for what's coming up in Australia."

Stockport's Naomi Broady crashed out of qualifying for the Apia International in Sydney after losing to the fifth-seeded Kateryna Bondarenko. The 26-year-old struggled with her serve, winning only one game, and was broken six times by the Ukrainian who raced to a 6-1 6-1 victory in just over an hour.

The victory saw Bondarenko advance to the main draw, while the Briton missed out on a lucky loser spot.

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