World No. 1 Andy Murray won his official first match in the top spot on the ATP Rankings on Monday, and Kei Nishikori was on point in round robin results at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Murray is 1-0 in round robin play after beating No. 7 seed Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2.
“It was a really, really good atmosphere tonight,” said Murray. “After a long few months, it’s nice to know that I’m going to be finishing the year playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more, as well.”
It was one small step toward securing the coveted year-end No. 1 ranking, and he goes back ahead of Djokovic in the 2016 Race. He also wins his 20th straight match to improve to 73-9.
In front of his home crowd, Murray broke for a 3-1 lead in both sets, eventually sending Cilic to an 0-4 career record at the year-end championships.
“Obviously, I need to get into the rhythm on the serve,” said Cilic. “I think I wasn’t hitting the spots so well today. I think obviously Andy was returning really well.”
On Wednesday Murray will next face No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori, who on Monday used pinpoint accuracy to dismantle a fairly-uninterested-looking Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3.
“It was not a great match, compared to what I can do,” said Wawrinka. “It wasn’t a great day for myself. In general, I think he played well and put a lot of pressure from the beginning. I don’t think I found anything on the court today. I was a little bit slow on everything. I was hesitating a lot with my game, my movement.”
Nishikori, who made it to the semis at the year-end final in 2014, is off to a 1-0 start in round robin play.
“I saw that he wasn’t playing his best and he was making a lot of unforced errors,” Nishikori said. “I saw a lot of opportunities today, so I tried to be aggressive. Even in the second set, I stayed really tough and played a good match today. It gives me a little confidence.”
The 31-year-old Wawrinka did not see a singles break point opportunity during the brief affair.
Murray had nothing but praise ahead of his match-up with Nishikori.
“I would say this is probably his best year that he’s had on the tour,” Murray said. “He’s one of the best players in the world. He’s been playing very well the last few months especially.”
Tuesday in London will see No. 6 Gael “Force” Monfils vs. No. 8 Dominic Thiem in a battle of debutants, and No. 2 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 4 Milos Raonic. Raonic and Djokovic can qualify for the semifinals:
– Raonic qualifies if he defeats Djokovic in 2 sets.
– Raonic also qualifies if he defeats Djokovic and Monfils defeats Thiem.
– Djokovic qualifies if he defeats Raonic and Thiem defeats Monfils.
TUESDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE
 J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) v  B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)
GAEL MONFILS  (FRA) v DOMINIC THIEM  (AUT)
 I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) v  T Huey (PHI) / M Mirnyi (BLR)
NOVAK DJOKOVIC  (SRB) v MILOS RAONIC  (CAN)
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