The ATP World Tour Finals opened on Sunday with Roger Federer and Andy Murray sailing to comfortable wins.
In the 02 Arena, World No. 2 Federer saw off David Ferrer with a 6-1, 6-4 victory after local favorite Murray titillated the crowd of 17,500 with a 6-2, 6-4 demolition of fourth seed Robin Soderling, in the opening match of the championship in Group B.
Federer was rarely threatened in the first set after he stormed into a 4-0 lead, with Ferrer barely hanging on. However, the Spaniard got one back in game five after Federer dropped serve at 40-0.
The chances for Ferrer were still remote at 4-1 and all remaining doubts were cleared when Federer broke the Spaniard in game six after a lengthy rally to take the first set 6-1.
David Ferrer is known for his commitment, and true to his reputation, the Spaniard fought back in the second set. Federer was leading by a break in the second set at 3-2 when Ferrer played his best tennis of the match to manage two break points. However, Federer's first serve was too hot for him to handle and the Swiss closed the gap.
From then on, Federer was rarely threatened as he saw off three break points and served for victory in one hour and 20 minutes.
Federer managed the victory despite not being at his best. The Swiss had made an uncharacteristic 26 unforced errors. He reflected just that when he said, I thought it was a tough match. Looking at the score-line, it doesn't reflect how tough it was. There were many close games, especially in the second set.
All in all I'm really happy with the way I was able to get out of the first match here. Starting off with a feisty top-10 player is never easy, he added.
David Ferrer will take on Robin Soderling in the second round of Group B. After this loss, he needs a win to harbor hopes of qualifying for the next round.
Speaking on the match, he said, I think I served very bad throughout the match. This was the key. With Roger it's impossible to take the chance if you don't serve well. In the first set I played a little bit nervous, in the second set I improved my game, but Roger served really well when I had a chance or two.
Earlier, Andy Murray had opened the championship with a commanding win over Sweden's Robin Soderling.
Murray displayed some of his best tennis as he demolished a surprisingly poor Soderling. The Swede had surpassed Murray for fourth position in the ATP rankings last week, and had also won his first Paris Masters before coming to London. He would have been highly confident for the tie against the Scot. However, it wasn't his day as Murray demolished him in the first set and fought out the second to open with a win.
Murray said, I think tactically it was a great match. I think I played very smart tennis. It was getting tough in the second set, a lot of long rallies and I was on the defensive quite a lot but I stuck to my tactics well and managed to come through.
The court is really slow for an indoor court. I used the slice really well, it was staying pretty low, and played a lot of drop-shots which some of the commentators don't like, but they worked today., he added.
Soderling accepted defeat saying that he had been out-played.
He served really well. Maybe that's the only thing I was a little bit surprised with. He was putting a lot of first serves in. And he was defending really well, he said.
I think I was hitting the ball pretty hard sometimes, trying to be aggressive. Every time I came to the net, he came up with a really good shot.
Murray will face Federer next in the round-robin stage, while Soderling and Ferrer will battle for their first win.