Murray Outlasts Nishikori At ATP Finals, Wawrinka Stays Alive; Raonic-Thiem For Second Place Thursday
by Staff | November 17th, 2016, 12:22 am

Andy Murray kept pace with Novak Djokovic in the race for No. 1 with a marathon win over Kei Nishikori 6-7(9), 6-4, 6-4 in round robin play at the ATP Finals in London. The 3-hour, 21-minute affair marked the longest best-of-3 set match ever recorded (since 1991) at the ATP Finals.

“I’m a bit tired, obviously,” said Murray. “But you tend to feel it more the following day, sort of in terms like stiffness and soreness in the body. I was in the ice bath after the match. That obviously helps kind of make you feel a bit better. But sort of 10, 12 hours afterwards the body starts to stiffen up. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll be a bit sore. But it’s positive I get a day’s rest, a day’s recovery tomorrow.

The win was Murray’s 21st straight and put him back in the lead for No. 1, ahead of Novak Djokovic who plays Thursday.

”It’s obviously important to win matches to give yourself the best chance to go through. 200 points for each match here is quite a lot, as well. Obviously that increases as you get into the semis, potentially in the final. It could come down to a match between me and Novak. Who knows what’s going to happen [over] the next few days. Just from my side, [I need to] concentrate on trying to win my own matches, get through as many as I can, make it as tough as possible for Novak to jump me.”

After grinding out a tough first set which he sealed on his fifth set point, Nishikori was promptly broken to start the second, and then was down two breaks in the third despite dictating many of the rallies.

“It never feels good after losing the match,” said Nishikori. “I know it was close. I mean, I’m definitely disappointed… I think it was great match, both of us. I played really consistently [and] played with good energy. I’m sure he’s going to qualify from the group. I will try to aim for the second spot.”

In the second match, Stan Wawrinka won a battle of US Open champions beating Marin Cilic 7-6(3), 7-6(3) to stay alive in the hunt for the weekend.

“It was a great match,” said Wawrinka. “I’m really happy with the way I played in general. It was a tough match, for sure – two tie-breaks. I think the level was really high… I think I was moving great. It was a great victory for me.”

On Friday, Cilic takes on Nishikori while Wawrinka battles Murray.

“All I know is if I want to have a chance to qualify, I need to win,” said Wawrinka. “That’s all I’m trying to do. I’m going to try to play my best tennis, to beat the World No. 1. It’s going to be a tough match. We played many times against each other. He’s playing his best tennis so far. It’s going to be interesting. I’m happy to play here in front of his home crowd. I’m sure it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”

Cilic has been eliminated from the event leaving Murray, Wawrinka and Nishikori all bidding for the semifinals with both spots still undecided. As long as Murray wins a set against the Swiss, he’s in the semifinals. If he doesn’t then things get interesting when Nishikori and Cilic take the court in the evening.

On Thursday in the Ivan Lendl group, Djokovic returns to take on David Goffin who replaced the injured Gael Monfils who withdrew with a rib muscle injury. While the outcome has no impact on the tournament, it’s important for Djokovic to collect more points heading into the weekend.

Later, Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem meet in a rematch of their Cincinnati quarterfinal won by the Canadian. This time, the winner moves into the semifinals.

“He’s playing well,” Raonic said of the Austrian. “He’s been doing stuff well throughout this whole year. Obviously, just like myself, he played extremely well at the beginning of the year. Hasn’t necessarily played his best tennis since.

“Fortunately for me I hope it works out that way. This is one of my best surfaces. I don’t know if indoor hard courts is necessarily his. So hopefully I can take time away from him and play on my terms and have him react to the things I put forward and try to push him around.”

You Might Like:
Djokovic Edges Raonic To Reach SFs, Thiem Wins At ATP Finals; Murray Returns Wed.
Raonic Reaches SFs At ATP Finals, Djokovic Back In No. 1 Lead; Murray v Wawrinka Friday
Federer Stays Perfect At ATP Finals, Murray Gets A Win; Djokovic v Wawrinka Wednesday
ATP Finals Groups: Novak Djokovic = Easy, Andy Murray = Not So Easy
Murray Tops Wawrinka At ATP Finals To Qualify For SFs And Keep No. 1 Hopes Alive

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

46 Comments for Murray Outlasts Nishikori At ATP Finals, Wawrinka Stays Alive; Raonic-Thiem For Second Place Thursday

Margot Says:

Yikes, that was tough. Not sure how much gas Andy has left. And Stan, on form, is a formidable foe. Andy needs to take a set off him to qualify.
Que sera.

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t think anybody can beat Brits in whinging, as saying goes “whinging Pom”, trust me, we are puppies compare to whinging Poms.

Wog Boy Says:

Whrong tread.

Farah Diba Says:

Well M..Not only i believe Andy will take a set from wawa but i also believe that Andy will win tomorrow[Insyaalah]..He he he..What’s the magic words?..DON’T STOP!…BELIEVIN’!…

Danica Says:

I was trying to find highlights from Andy-Kei match but no luck :(. Any hints?

J-Kath Says:


Try Sky Sports.

Danica Says:

Thank you!
I will watch when I get back home from work. Now that I don’t have Tennis Channel anymore, it is hard finding highlights let alone whole matches :(

vjmtz Says:

I hope Wawrinka beat Murray 2-0. That would be good for tennis.

Willow Says:

Andrew Casle hopes Murray will finish RU in his group to guarantee a Novak /Andy match up, to see them battling each other for the world number 1 ranking ….

J-Kath Says:


Before Nole’s match today he had won one 3-set match against the young Austrian and one two set match against Raonic….and was through to the semis.

Andy won a 2-set match against Cilic and a 3-set match against Kei and was not through to the semis.

What is different….what am I missing?

Willow Says:

J-Kath to be fair thats true, Novaks matches were tougher than expected, although it has to be said anyone can see that Andys group is the tougher one, and its now likely should he qualify that he will be playing matches on 3 consecutive days, also playing another GS champion, the players in his half are either GS champions, or GS finalists, and Novak gets a days rest now ….

J-Kath Says:

Yes, Willow, but my question is – if one player wins two matches and qualifies for the semis the same is true for the opposite player in the second group….unless there is a reason I’ve missed.

Willow Says:

Sorry J-Kath i missed the point, Andy only needs a set against Stan, if Stan beats Andy i think he qualifies too, but only if Marin beats Kei, if Kei beats Marin, Marin is out, but there will be a three way tie only if Stan beats Andy though, then it goes to sudden death with sets won,games won etc (srcatches head ) lol, too complicated for me im afraid ….

J-Kath Says:

Yes, Willow – I know it is said that Andy only needs to win one set against Stan.

My problem is: there are two halves. The player who wins 2 matches in one half is automatically into the semis while the player who wins 2 matches in the second half is not automatically into the semis.

There has to be a reason – and I don’t know what it is……….

J-Kath Says:


Hope all is well with you and family and friends – saw the devastation in Wales. Blimey!

Willow Says:

Its all too confusing for me J-Kath, i think RZ or Daniel can give you a better indication ….

Willow Says:

Margot i echo J-Kaths well wishes to you ….

RZ Says:

Thanks for the vote of confidence Willow! I’ll give it a try…

@J-Kath – it has to do with the total number of sets and/or games won after the win-loss record. Andy’s group could end up with 3 guys with 2-1 records and the sets/games would decide who moves on. This year seems more complicated than usual because if I interpreted what I read yesterday, Novak was already in the semis regardless of his outcome today despite having only 2 wins, and with the same number of sets won/lost as Andy. I think the reason his was already through was based on the rest of the group’s results and the fact that there was no way that group could end up with 3 guys with 2-1 records.

RZ Says:

^ To add some more detail…In Andy’s group, if Andy loses to Stan and Kei beats Marin, Andy, Kei, and Stan will each end up with 2-1 records in RR. To break the tie, the player with the higher number of sets won will move on. This is why Andy only need to win one set.

In the other group, Novak was going on to the semis regardless because there was no chance for 3 guys to end up with 2-1 records. That’s because the two guys with 1-1 records, Raonic and Thiem, are playing each other today, so one of them will end up with a 2-1 record and the other with a 1-2 record. (Incidentally, Monfils’ withdrawal doesn’t really affect how this group’s standings play out). But in Andy’s group, the guys with 1-1 records (Kei and Stan) are playing the guys with a 2-0 record and a 0-2 record, leaving the possibility for a virtual 3-way tie.

lakie Says:

Nobody can beat the Nole fans for whinging and whining. If there is a conspiracy, it is to make Nole #1 . How can anyone explain the cupcake draw at USO and retirements/withdrawals in 3 rounds? Then this ridiculous draw at WTF. Since AO 2014, Nole has been getting ridiculously easy draws.

J-Kath Says:

Okey-dokey RZ: So Andy’s group was altogether more competitive – hence the star player in the other half was clearly above the rest of his group.

PS: Apart from that, it is a bit ridiculous to measure it on number of sets won – if you win in 2 you are valued less than a win in 3!!!!!!!!!

RZ Says:

@J-Kath – I may have said it incorrectly about the # of sets. In cases where a player loses a match, winning a set in that match would help them move out of the RR stage.

J-Kath Says:

Yes RZ:

I understand about “the winning of a set” – but it is really absurd when you think about it. When a player wins in 2 rather than 3 sets they have achieved a more successful win. Yet, in this tournament if the winner needs 3 sets to win it benefits the loser as well – to a certain level – but there is no reduction in the winner’s point!!! Extraordinary.

Where is Einstein when you need him?

jalep Says:

That’s actually not how it works. Here are the graphs:

If Andy wins in straight sets tomorrow, it really is the IDEAL scenario for Andy Murray. He’ll go thru to the SF as his group #1 and play Milos Raonic Saturday. Andy will have 3 wins to 0 losses. Stan will have 1 win to 2 losses, and if Kei loses to Cilic, Kei will have 1 win to 2 losses. The #2 spot will then be determined by most sets won and, if necessary, go down to most games won.

There are scenarios left for Andy, Kei, and Stan with group position #1 and #2 for the taking. No chance for Cilic to make a SF spot.

Very exciting. Andy’s group was more competitive, imo.

jalep Says:

And here’s a chart for Group John McEnroe with all remaining scenarios:

chrisford1 Says:

I’m just going to wait to see how the two matches tomorrow go. It’s only a day away. Then we’ll know who gets Djokovic and Raonic.

jalep Says:

And for those of us who can use this moment in time to speculate.

😲 With winning % stats for sets and games. In order of seeded position, not group position:



Points and prize money…not bad.

Khb Says:

This tourney is great. It measures your best tennis. Wawrinka is the weak link. Murray had a cakewalk even when Kei dragged on their match.
It’s not like murray hung on for tiebreaks.

jane Says:

wow, I hadn’t heard about anything in wales, but margot, I really hope all is well with your family: warm wishes.

Danica Says:

I heard a strong storm hit Wales. I hope people there are OK.
Margot, please, let us know how you’re doing. ♡♡♡

Farah Diba Says:

Yeah M…Thinking of you and all your family over there..Please be safe My Angel..

Margot Says:

Oh gals you’re all so kind- Kath, Willow, jane Danica and darling Farah-Mira, big hugs. A lot of structural damage in the charming seaside town of Aberystwyth, further West than us, but thankfully no loss of life.
Big storms may be coming our way on Sunday, too! Help!
Bet “The Ministry of Truth” is loving your work.

J-Kath Says:


I’m assuming it means everybody has to play everybody in their half. And that there was no-one on Nole’s half at the end of 2 matches that could have bettered him. Hence he was through to the semis in advance of his match with Gael/David. Whereas on Andy’s side there are.

Keep safe.
PS: “Ministry of Truth” in the “Kingdom of the Blind”

Willow Says:

Im only happy that this is the one and only tournament that they use this format in, so for goodness sake please not in the DC and the Olympics aswell, it might well be the top 8 players, but most killed themselves getting there, so are too knackered to make an impression, some can think i topped my group already so i will now take it easy, as it doesnt matter if i win or lose, the whole thing might rewards negative tennis as much as it rewards positive tennis, and they way they worked out the groups well say no more ….

Farah Diba Says:

Oh!Thank God M..Nothing happen to you..Please always alert to your surrounding okay?.. especially on sunday..And for today,i hope you can still enjoy Andy and wawa M…Love and kisses from across the pond!

Willow Says:

I Live by the seaside too, thankfully weve had no storms our way, and hoping we dont either, scary stuff ….

J-Kath Says:


Me too -water all around. Yesterday when part of Wales was battered we had some strong gusting winds but no damage. It’s pretty calm today but it sure is cold.

Back to tennis. I’m not sure I want Andy to win today – he’s likely to be too “pooped to pop”.

Willow Says:

It is here in Norfolk too ….

RZ Says:

Just checked in on the score and can breathe a sigh of relief that Andy is through to the the elimination round. But now he has to win the match so he can avoid Djokovic in the semis.

RZ Says:

BTW, with the doubles loss today by Herbert-Mahut, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares will end up as the #1 team. I wouldn’t have thought that PHH/NM would lose all 3 RR matches or that Kontinen-Peers would win all 3 of theirs.

RZ Says:

Margot – stay safe in the storms. Hopefully your sofa will continue to protect you. :-)

Margot Says:

Thanks so much RZ. Am sure it will, after all has survived the tempests of Andy’s career. ;)

RZ Says:

In that case, your sofa can survive anything! :-)

Margot Says:

Very true :)

Top story: Nadal Tries To Win A 12th Barcelona Title Against Tough Field With 9 Of Top 20