Djokovic and Federer stroll to easy wins

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: No­vak Djokovic looked un­stop­pable when trounc­ing Kei Nishikori but for sheer swag­ger Roger Federer re­mains un­ri­valled as he demon­strated again when dis­man­tling To­mas Berdych as the ATP World Tour Fi­nals be­gan on Sun­day. World num­ber one Djokovic ex­tended his lat­est win­ning se­quence to 23 with a 6-1 6-1 ham­mer­ing of world num­ber eight Nishikori who was pow­er­less to stop the ram­pant Serb. Far from eas­ing up with the fin­ish of his best ever year a week away, Djokovic clearly wants to lay down a marker for next year’s as­sault on the top sil­ver­ware and showed Nishikori no mercy.

“No ques­tion, it felt like the best ten­nis I played this year,” the 28-year-old, aim­ing for a fourth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle at the O2 Arena, told re­porters. “I was at my best and it was an in­cred­i­ble per­for­mance.” Djokovic and Nishikori had stood heads bowed be­fore their match to re­spect a minute’s si­lence in a dark­ened arena for the vic­tims of Fri­day’s Paris at­tacks. Fol­low­ing his im­mac­u­late per­for­mance he was pre­sented with a tro­phy for the year-end num­ber one rank­ing he has achieved for the fourth time in five sea­sons.

Home fans were given some early ex­cite­ment when Jamie Mur­ray, older brother of Andy, marked his de­but at the tour­na­ment when he and Aus­tralian part­ner John Peers beat Ital­ian duo Fabio Fognini and Si­mone Bolelli in a thriller. But the at­mos­phere was sub­dued later as Djokovic snuffed out any chance of a shock when he thrashed a help­less Nishikori. “He played un­be­liev­able ten­nis. I’m very ashamed with this score,” sec­ond-time qual­i­fier Nishikori, who will hope for a bet­ter show­ing in his next two round robin matches, said.

DAZ­ZLING SHOW

Federer will pro­vide Djokovic with a far sterner test when they meet in the “Stan Smith” Group to­day, if his level for most of a 6-4 6-2 de­feat of Berdych was any­thing to go by. The 34-year-old, cheered on by a size­able army of Swiss fans in var­i­ous sorts of red and white at­tire, made a mess of his open­ing ser­vice game, fall­ing 0-2 be­hind af­ter serv­ing two con­sec­u­tive dou­ble-faults to gift Berdych a break. But he re­sponded with a break to love and then from 34 down in the open­ing set he pro­duced a daz­zling show reel of his favourite tricks to win seven games in a row-throw­ing in a couple of his trade­mark half-volleyed re­turns for good mea­sure. “Was one of the worst starts I’ve had in years,” Federer told re­porters. “No first serves, two dou­ble-faults, noth­ing com­ing from the base­line. So it was rough. “But thank­fully I was able to pick it up.” Play be­gins in the Ilie Nas­tase Group yes­ter­day with Andy Mur­ray up against David Fer­rer and Rafael Nadal tak­ing on French Open cham­pion Stanis­las Wawrinka. — Reuters

— AFP

LON­DON: Switzer­land’s Roger Federer re­acts af­ter be­ing present with two awards, the Fans’ Favourite award, and the Ste­fan Ed­berg Sports­man­ship award, fol­low­ing his vic­tory over To­mas Berdych in their men’s sin­gles group stage match on day one of the ATP World Tour Fi­nals ten­nis tour­na­ment in Lon­don. Federer won the match 6-4, 6-2.

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