Murray gains revenge on Djokovic
It is the world number one's first loss of 2012 after 11 matches while Murray is now also 11-1.
The pair shared an intoxicating semi-final at the Australian Open in January, with Djokovic prevailing in a five-set five-hour battle that saw the match swing in favour of one player then the other and back again. He then beat Rafael Nadal over six hours in the final.
In order to recover, when they arrived in Dubai they had not played since Melbourne. There were nine Tour events in between the two.
The first set went with serve until 3-2 in Murray's favour, as both players sought rhythm on their groundstrokes. However Murray, who was fired up from the start, looked the more dominant both in front of and behind the baseline.
In the sixth game he was rewarded for an increasing preference for accuracy over power, forcing Djokovic into four consecutive errors from a 30-0 position to break for 4-2.
Nole responded, as is so often the case, by racing to two break points. But, as we were often witness to Down Under, Murray found the answers: he maintained composure better than his friend and rival to come back and hold. Whether this concentration is attributable to new coach Ivan Lendl is open to debate, but the legendary player does not seem to be harming his new charge's prospects.
The following game was simply sensational: he attacked the faltering Djokovic serve with confidence and zeal and was rewarded with three set points - and the first of them was converted with a flashing winner from corner to corner.
The world number four lost the first two points of the second set on serve but again dug in to secure the hold - then broke a third time for 2-0. Having dominated the opening points in that game, he was put on the back foot by a rampaging Djokovic who seemed hell-bent on saving the break point. Murray defended brilliantly to turn the momentum of the point until the Serb fired well out in desperation.
Several straightforward holds followed until 5-3, although Djokovic made a good fist of attacking the fierce Murray serve in the second-to-last of those games.
So Murray stepped up to serve for the match... and was broken back. Djokovic, already one of the finest players of any generation, was given a fillip when the Scot double-faulted - and a woefully mis-timed forehand from Murray then shot into the net saved the day for the Serb, who then held to take the set to 5-5.
The respite was only temporary, however: Murray battered Djokovic with his serve to move ahead once more then held his nerve to close out the match with a fourth break on the first of two break points.
Murray will face†Roger Federer†in the final after the Swiss world number three edged out Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 7-6.