(CNN) -- Novak Djokovic saved five match points before beating defending Shanghai Masters champion Andy Murray in a three-set final of breathtaking intensity Sunday.
Murray, who overcame the Serbian to win the U.S. Open title in another classic duel, was poised for an emphatic straight sets victory and his third successive title in the Chinese city.
He led by a set and 5-4 and was 30 love to the good on his own service before the World No.2 changed the course of the match with an audacious between the legs shot.
It helped him win the rally and although Murray then set up the first of his championship points later in the game, the force was now with Djokovic.
In the ensuing tiebreaker, which lasted over 20 minutes, he saved a further four match points before taking it 13-11 to set up the decider.
The typical fist-pumping celebration said it all, but Djokovic still had to win the third set.
More classic play followed, but Murray was the first to crack as Djokovic broke to lead 4-3.
Serving to save the match at 3-5 down, the Scot himself bravely saved a pair of match points before his opponent clinched victory after three hours 21 minutes of relentless pressure tennis.
After his 5-7 7-6 6-3 triumph, Djokovic told the official ATP Tour website that it could have gone either way.
"When I faced those match points, I tried to focus on each individually. He was so close to the victory that I cannot say I was the better player."
Murray was left to reflect on defeat in a match he had in his grasp.
"It was a disappointing one to lose," he said
"I've lost tougher matches than that before in the biggest events. So I'm sure I'll recover from it pretty well. "
The 25-year-old Djokovic, who was also beaten by Murray in the semifinals of the Olympic tennis tournament, came into the final in hot form after claiming the China Open in Beijing.
He is closing on Roger Federer at the top of the rankings, heading into the Paris Masters and the ATP Tour Finals in London next month.
Meanwhile, women's No.1 Victoria Azarenka claimed her sixth title this season when she beat German Julia Goerges in straight sets in Linz.
The Belarusian won 6-3, 6-4 for a 14th career title, following on from her success in Beijing where she beat Maria Sharapova.
And in the WTA event in Osaka, Heather Watson became the first British woman to win a Tour title in 24 years when she beat Chang Kai-chen in the Japan Open final.
Watson won a marathon match 7-5 5-7 7-6 and takes over from Laura Robson as British No.1