The opening day matches may not have been edge-of-seat cliffhangers as they were a week ago Saturday in Paris, but the outcomes still matter. On day one of the ATP London finals, Andy Murray posted a very impressive win over Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-4, while Roger Federer flew by David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4.
“I think tactically it was a great match,” said Murray who snapped a two-match losing streak to the Swede who excels indoors. “I think I played very smart tennis today. Obviously it was getting tough in the second set [with] a lot of long rallies. I was on the defensive quite a lot, [but I] stuck to my tactics well and managed to come through.”
I gave Soderling the edge going into this one, but full credit to Murray who was by far the better player on this day despite wearing that Ivan Lendl diamond shirt! Maybe this will be the year he gets it done!
For Soderling, who looked a bit out of it at times, he’ll have to regroup against Ferrer on Tuesday if he still harbors hopes to make the semifinals. Losing in straight sets in the round robin is an absoulte killer especially when you are looking up at Federer and Murray.
“It was tough today,” said Soderling. “I was hitting the ball pretty well, but in the beginning I wasn’t there. He played better than me today.
“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. He was defending really well. Every time I came to the net, he came up with a really good shot.”
Well, Robin, they way I saw it every time you hit a volley it wound up in the net!
In the second match, Federer kept his head-to-head edge over Ferrer perfect by improving it to a gaudy 11-0 against the Spaniard.
“I thought it was a tough match,” Fed said. “Looking at the score line, it doesn’t reflect how tough it was. There were many close games, especially in the second set. Possibly the first set could have gone faster, too.
“All in all, I’m really happy the way I was able to get out of the first match here, starting off with a feisty Top 10 player is never easy. It’s sort of a first round, that’s why I’m really pleased with tonight’s performance.”
Federer did struggle near the end, and had to extricate himself from a 0-40 hole the final game to get win the match. But a wins a win and coming up is the big showdown between Federer and Murray on Tuesday afternoon I believe.
Before then we have a couple more good matches tomorrow. First it’s Novak Djokovic against Tomas Berdych. The Serb has won three of four with his only loss to TOmas coming at the Wimbledon semifinals back in July. But times have changed.
The Czech who playing so well during that French-Wimbledon stretch, has essentially checked-out since.
Djokovic, meanwhile, has found his form and is playing some of the best, most confident tennis of his career. I like Novak here.
In the marquee match, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal debuts against the popular Andy Roddick. After going winless in London a year ago, Nadal’s out to make amends this week and on the slower courts I think he’ll get it done against Roddick.
Nadal leads Roddick 5-3 though Roddick did win their most recent battle in three sets in Miami this spring. So Rafa’s got a lot to play for in this one.
Plus, Rafa has won all four Majors, the Davis Cup and the Olympic Gold, but has never won the year-end Finals title.
If Rafa really gives Roddick a ride, watch out.
Matches again are on live at 9am and3pm ET live on the Tennis Channel.
MONDAY LONDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT Start At 12:15 PM
 M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) vs  L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT)
Not Before 2:00 PM
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
Start At 6:15 PM
 D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs  W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL)
Not Before 8:00 PM
 R Nadal (ESP) vs  A Roddick (USA)
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