Murray wins ATP World Tour Finals to stay world number one

This was the first time the number one ranking had been decided on the final match of the season and it was hard to disagree when Djokovic described the contest as one of the biggest they will ever play. Djokovic will be the fresher man and, after a relatively lean second half of the year, would love to snatch back top-dog status with a fifth consecutive title in Murray's backyard.

The title was his ninth of the year and extended his winning run to finish 2016 to an incredible 24 matches.

Murray's elevation had been unexpected earlier in the year - especially after Djokovic had beaten him in the final of the French Open. Murray will be the 17th player to top the official year-end rankings since they were launched in 1973.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball during the singles semifinal with Kei Nishikori of Japan at the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London, Britain on November 19, 2016.

Gracious in defeat, Djokovic said of Murray, "He played better tennis, in the decisive moment I was not able to come back".

Murray often performs at his best on home soil, but has sometimes struggled at this year-end tournament.

During Andy Murray's ascension to the No. 1 ranking, there has been, if not criticism, at least skepticism over the field he faced along the way.

After winning all three of his matches in Group John McEnroe, Murray progressed to the semi-final where he claimed victory over Milos Raonic in a thrilling 3hr 38min showdown. Andy is clearly number one of the world, he's the best player.

The two players last met in the final of the Roland Garros, in which Djokovic outclassed Murray in a four-setter. The former No. 1 did, however, look to scrape back with a double break back against Murray in the second set, but as he admitted later in the post-match presentation, "it was a little too late".

Nishikori serving and down 3-0 in the first set, and it's understandable if the Japanese is a bit exhausted after his loss to Murray, but he provides little fight here. "I'll give it my best shot tomorrow with what I have".

Here are Djokovic and Murray's 2016 meetings, RANKED.

Murray broke in the first game of the second set before breaking again to take a 4-1 lead.

The eighth-seeded Austrian, who is making his debut at the season-ending tournament, held on to beat Gael Monfils 6-3 1-6 6-4, making him 1-1 in the round robin.

There were few signs of fatigue from the Wimbledon and Olympic champion, though, and Djokovic needed to save two break points in the sixth game of the opener to keep on level terms.

However, just when the defending champion seemed dead and buried he launched a typically spirited comeback. "Thankfully the first sort of seven games of the match, there was no long rallies really at all, which for us is odd".

Murray finally faced his first break point after 78 minutes, and Djokovic managed to make it 4-2. Murray dropped his racket to the floor, apparently in disbelief, before sharing a warm embrace at the net with his great rival.

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