By Ros Satar
- Novak Djokovic def. Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1
- Federer Berdych
- Jamie Murray & John Peers start with a win but the Bryan Brothers lose opener
LONDON, UK – Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic and six-time champion Roger Federer started with impressive wins, as well as home interest with a win for Jamie Murray & John Peers.
Novak Djokovic def. Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1
Djokovic did not so much kick off his campaign as stomp his marker all over the court with a dominant win over Nishikori.
Breaking the Japanese player at the start of the match, he cruised through the first set with a second break at the end, effectively shutting down any efforts for Nishikori to get into his game.
But Djokovic was not done there, going on to break Nishikori three times in the second set to wrap up the match in a little over an hour.
Having made a decent enough impact on his World Tour Finals debut, reaching the semi-finals, it was perhaps a chastening experience for the World No. 8.
He said, after the match: “Obviously I didn’t make any first serve today, so that cause lot of pressure that he always have a good return. I thought didn’t play bad. I had great points with groundstrokes. I think my serve was the key. Both sets I lost my first service game.
“That gave me a little pressure to come back. I mean, he also played unbelievable tennis. Very ashamed with this score, but have two more matches. So I try to keep it up my serve tomorrow and next match.”
Djokovic was equally as efficient as he wrapped up his own assessment of his opening match.
“Today I’ve had for an opponent one of the quickest tennis players, somebody that possesses a lot of talent and loves to play aggressively. But I didn’t allow him to dictate the play. I mixed up the pace.
“I was feeling very comfortable on the court, feeling like I could get most of the balls back. I served efficiently. I mixed up the second serves as well. Didn’t give him really the same look twice. I always tried to change. The tactics worked very well.”
Jamie Murray & John Peers start with a win but the Bryans lose
Murray & Peers start their swansong with a win over Australian Open champions Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in an exciting start to the tournament.
The pair’s serving was impressive in the first set with neither pair giving an inch before a taut tie-break. The Italians swiftly struck back though, and the decent crowd that had turned out for the elder Murray’s debut at the season ending finale.
The Match Tie-break went down to the wire though, with the momentum shifting throughout, and it was a great finish for the Brit and Aussie pairing, as they got off the mark with a win.
Talking after the match, Murray said: “It was a great match, really exciting match. I think both teams played well. There was a lot of exciting points. It came down to a couple of points right at the end. Yeah, really happy to win and really excited to move on in the tournament.”
In the second doubles in the evening session the Bryan Brothers were beaten in their first round-robin match by Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea 6-4 6-3.
Roger Federer def. Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-2
For the briefest of moments it looked as though Berdych would be the one to pull off the first surprise of the tournament. Tenaciously he broke Federer in his opening game – would we see a real challenge to Federer’s hopes of snaffling the year-end No. 2 spot? Sadly no, as Federer broke straight back to love in a tit-for-tat move.
Having to recover from a nasty slip, Berdych did well to keep with Federer but some very sloppy errors let the Swiss back in to break at the end of the set. Talk about momentum though. Federer left Berdych standing as he swiftly leapt out to a 4-0 lead.
It was just a mountain too far for the Czech, and while he managed to get at least a couple of games on the board before succumbing in a little over an hour to Federer, who was then awarded the ATP Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, as well as picking up the ATP Fan Favourite Award this year too.
Ever the perfectionist, Federer lamented what he called ‘one of the worst starts I’ve had in years,’ but looking at the results today, he assessed who would maybe fare the best on the court.
Federer said: “I think what I underestimated a little bit in some ways was that it was a first round. I think I was playing very well in practice. I had a very good idea with Severin and Stefan how I should play the match. When I came in, I kind of forgot it was a first round. I do have to be a little bit careful as well at times. I was a bit sluggish coming in. I don’t want to say too overconfident, but I thought it was going to be easier than that. It was a good lesson for me to learn. But now I’m in the second round, so that’s a good thing.”
He continued: “I think it’s a really good court for me personally. I think it’s a really good court for Novak, too. Kei, I’ve played him here in the past. I play very well against him. So it’s just gotten to be a surface, maybe it’s the end of the season, maybe it’s the surface, we saw the faster results here last year. Seems like whoever takes charge of the baseline, and if you cannot serve your way out of trouble often enough, which is hard to do here because of the pace of the court, the guy from the baseline wins, the better one. That’s why we see some crushing scores, like Novak against Kei today. Last year, as well.”
Play continues on Monday starting with doubles at 1pm GMT.
Main Image Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty
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