Roger Federer and Andy Murray moved closer to a high-profile Group B showdown later in the week as the ATP World Tour Finals began with both scoring straight set wins on opening day on Sunday at the year-end spectacular.
Federer crushed Spain’s David Ferrer for the 11th time without a loss, earning a 6-1, 6-4 victory against the world number seven.
The Swiss claimed victory in just under 90 minutes on his seventh ace after saving three break points in the final game as he served it out. Federer broke four times and was helped by six double-faults from his Spanish opponent.
Murray rose to the big occasion at home as the Scot opened with a 6-2, 6-4 success over Swede Robin Soderling to post the first victory at the eight-man event.
Ferrer made little progress in improving his record against Federer, who won their first six meetings in straight sets. The plucky Spaniard has taken a set off Federer in three of their four meetings prior to the year-ender at the O2 arena.
The Swiss swept the first set in 33 minutes with three breaks of serve while going wrong on his own serve in the fifth game in a slight detour.
Ferrer put up more resistance in the second — he also cracked a racquet in frustration — before finally folding. Federer earned his 61st match of the season, second only to Nadal.
Murray’s quick win in 80 minutes was his first after two consecutive defeats at the hands of Soderling, who played the last two Roland Garros finals and won the Paris Masters title indoors a week ago.
“Tactically it was a great match, I played very smart tennis today,” said Murray. “Even when obviously it was getting tough in the second set, a lot of long rallies. I stuck to my tactics well and managed to come through.”
Murray’s win was his 45th of the season as he aims for a third 2010 title after Masters 1000 honours in Canada and Shanghai.
“This is a huge tournament, all of the players want to play their best tennis here,” said Murray. “It’s a big win, to beat someone that’s ranked higher than me.
“The guy’s number four in the world. He’s a very, very good player. When you beat someone as good as him in a tournament like this with that score line, it’s normal to be pretty excited about it.” Soderling said he went wrong on the day. “I was hitting the ball pretty well, but I just wasn’t there.
“The last couple of weeks have been really tough for me. I played a lot of matches. I dealt with some stomach problems, but now I feel fine. But it was tough today.”
Keywords: ATP World Tour Finals