ATP Tour Finals: Federer, Nishikori Win Opening Ties

Roger Federer defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic in straight sets in his first match at the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday.

The six-time winner claimed a 6-1 7-6 (7-0) success to assert some measure of revenge on the debutante, who recently won him at the Paris Masters.

“I think I played really well for probably one and a half sets,” said world number two Federer. “It was good to get off to a good start like I did against him at Cincinnati and Wimbledon. I broke in the first game and sort of never looked back.

“Thankfully he didn’t play quite so well like he did in Paris. He gave me a few shots here and there, especially at the beginning of the breaker. I think those were crucial. I was happy to bring it home because it was very close at the end of the second.”

The Swiss, 33, joins Kei Nishikori at the top of Group B standings after the Japanese defeated Britain’s Andy Murray in the first match on Sunday.

Federer, who could still leapfrog Novak Djokovic in the race for the year-end No. 1 ranking, face Nishikori on Tuesday in a second round tie, which also sees Murra battle Raonic.

Fourth seed Nishikori sailed past Murray on his debut at the ATP final showdown in the first game of the tournament taking place in London’s O2 Arena.

Nishikori, raced to a 6-4 6-4 win in one hour and 36 minutes- his first in four meetings with the fifth seed.

Murray was full of praise for Nishikori, a winner of four ATP World Tour titles in six finals this year, for his rapid progression in 2014 and his improvement to peak performance.

Kei Nishikori Defeated Andy Murray In His ATP World Tour Finals Debut. Image: Getty.
Kei Nishikori Defeated Andy Murray In His ATP World Tour Finals Debut. Image: Getty.

“I think he hasn’t made big changes to technique or any of his shots particularly, but he’s playing with more confidence. Because of that, he’s able to take more chances and be a little bit more aggressive than he was previously.

“But he’s always been a tough guy to play against because from the back of the court. He’s able to take the ball early.

“He can change direction of the ball. He’s got a lot of talent in his hand. Even when you get the ball in difficult spots on the court, he’s a good shot maker. He’s always been able to do that. With the confidence, he’s a bit more consistent throughout the course of the match, as well.”