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Roger Federer wins opening match at ATP Finals tennis

Roger Federer beat Jack Sock 6-4, 7-6(4) at the ATP Finals, held at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.

tennis Updated: Nov 12, 2017 23:46 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, London
Roger Federer,tennis,ATP Finals
Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after beating Jack Sock of the United States in their singles tennis match at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday.(AP)

One break of serve, and a mini-break, was all Roger Federer needed to win his opening match at the season-ending ATP Finals on Sunday.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion broke Jack Sock in the first game of the 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory at the O2 Arena. Both then held serve the rest of the way.

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The 36-year-old Federer, who is ranked No. 2 in the world and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this season, is the oldest player ever to qualify for the season-ending tournament, which started in 1970.

In the late match, Alexander Zverev will face Marin Cilic.

Federer broke Sock, who was making his debut at the tournament, in the very first game, hitting a backhand winner to take the 1-0 lead.

“I missed one first serve in the first game,” Sock said. “I had my chances. He put me in some awkward positions on some of those forehands.”

That was the only break point for either player in the first set. But Federer had plenty more in the second set - five, to be exact. He just couldn’t convert them.

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In the tiebreaker, Federer went ahead 3-2 with a mini-break, but Sock got it back. After another to make it 5-4, however, it was nearly over. Federer won the final two points on his serve to go to 1-0 in the round robin.

Sock had his moments, though, including a tweener in the second set when he was leading 40-15. Federer got to it and hit a backhand winner.

“When he hit it, it wasn’t very clean. I figured it was going to go out. It landed just inside both lines,” said Sock, who still won the game. “But, I don’t know. It’s Roger, I guess. He can do no wrong. Everything goes in.”

When Federer was serving, there wasn’t much Sock could do to stop him. The second-ranked Swiss lost only three points on his serve in the second set.

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Federer has won a record six titles at the ATP Finals, including two in Houston, two in Shanghai and two in London. His last one came in 2011.

In 2017, he has won a tour-best seven titles, the most he has won since taking eight in 2007.

Sock is one of four players to qualify for the tournament for the first time. Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin also qualified, though Goffin played in the tournament last year as an alternate after Gael Monfils withdrew.

After the Federer match, Rafael Nadal was given his trophy for finishing the year as the No. 1 player in the rankings.

The Spaniard will play his first match at the tournament for the top eight players in the world on Monday against Goffin. In the early match, Dimitrov will face Dominic Thiem.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 22:53 IST