Novak Djokovic lost his chance to repeat his incredible 2011 run after succumbing 6-2, 7-5 to Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Dubai Championships on Friday.
The Serbian World No 1 had strung together a 41-match winning streak at the start of 2011, during which he won seven titles, before eventually being beaten by Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals.
But Murray made sure Djokovic's ride would not be as smooth this season as he avenged his five-set Australian Open semi-final loss in devastating fashion on Friday.
The Briton, 24, will face 16-times grand slam champion Federer in Saturday's final after the Swiss edged past Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6, 7-6.
"The first set I served well very well and was aggressive when I had my chances," Murray told reporters after becoming the first player to beat Djokovic this year.
"Then at the beginning of the second Novak started trying to go for more shots.
"This is why the match in Australia was so important, because the last couple times we played each other, I think I made it incredibly hard for him. I fought for every single point and made it really, really tough.
"In the second set he started going for more and making mistakes because of that, because it's tough to always grind out matches."
Djokovic started strongly, holding his opening two service games to love but from 2-2 a pumped-up Murray then won seven games in a row to claim the first set and go 3-0 up in the second on a balmy evening in Dubai.
Roared on by 5,000 fans, Murray served for the match at 5-3 and nerves got the better of the world number four, double-faulting as Djokovic, 24, earned two break points.
A netted backhand from the Briton then enabled Djokovic to pull it back to 5-4 and the set appeared to be heading for a tiebreak. However, Murray roused himself to break again and seal victory after the Serb clubbed a forehand into the net.
Federer, who lost to Del Potro in the 2009 US Open final, saved four set points in a second set tiebreak to storm back from 6-2 behind to win it 8-6 and seal a final berth after the towering Argentine clubbed a forehand long.
With no breaks of serve in the entire match, the first set also went to a tiebreak, Federer squandering five set points before clinching that first tiebreak 7-5, a thunderous serve setting up the Swiss to come inside and play a forehand winner into the corner.