Tennis

ATP Finals round-up - Group A

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It was a day of easy wins inside the O2 Arena; Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka dropped just four points between them in their opening ATP World Tour Final 'Group A' matches, at the expense of the hapless Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych. 

While it wasn't the exciting, hard-fought tennis which the London fans had probably hoped for - and paid for - they were treated to some sublime displays from two men, unfortunately not in the same encounter.

Djokovic spoke before the start of the season-ending competition about how he was confident of securing a hat-trick of Finals titles this year, and it was easy to see why as he brutally disposed of Cilic, the US Open winner, 6-1 6-1, in less than the time it takes to watch an episode of 'The Jeremy Kyle Show.' Unlike the ITV programme, however, there seemed to be no sort of fight whatsoever. 

EVENING ROUT

Cilic earned his spot in the Finals thanks mostly to his shock maiden Grand Slam triumph at Flushing Meadows, but the Croatian will have to prove in the remaining matches that it was no fluke; he was blown away by the world no.1. 

Djokovic broke his opponent's serve at very opportunity in the whole match - bar the very first point - and even survived an early break in the second set before securing a momentum boosting opening win.

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Speaking after the very much one-sided contest, the Serbian star claimed his game-plan worked a treat: "Marin as a US Open winner has a lot of confidence, but I managed to neutralise his serve and get a lot of ball back in play and that was part of the tactic."

While a select few could have predicted Djokovic's rout, maybe those who had tickets to the earlier match on Monday may have thought they'd see a more even match than what eventually transpired between Wawrinka and Berdych.

AFTERNOON ROUT

It wasn't to be though. Now it may be fair to say that Wawrinka has failed to build upon his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open at the start of 2014, but the Swiss no.2 displayed his potential in another 6-1 6-1 win, again completed in under one hour.

Berdych fared no better than Cilic would later on in the day and was beset by unforced errors as he narrowly avoided a whitewash or 'bagel' in the first set having been 5-0.

The Czech Republican world no.5 didn't improve against the world no.4 in the second and final set either. Both he and Cilic already face an uphill battle to emerge from the group, especially if Djokovic and Wawrinka carry their form into the remaining matches. 

Understandably Berdych was gutted when interviewed after the match: "Unfortunately it was my worst match of the whole season, and I kept it for the start here in the World Tour Finals," he told the BBC.

TUESDAY TUNE-UP?

Any fans from the O2 Arena who have tickets for tomorrow's play will hope for much better in the Group B matches.

Both Roger Federer and Andy Murray will be in action, and the latter faces a must-win clash, in just his second match of the Finals.

The British no.1 faces Milos Raonic - who was downed by Federer on Sunday - knowing that anything other than a win will most likely see him eliminated from the competition, having lost his opener against Kei Nishikori. His young Canadian opponent faces a similar scenario. 

Murray has tried to stay optimistic in the build-up to facing a strong serving Raonic:  “It's harder to qualify when you lose your first match. That's pretty obvious. But unlike the other events, you still have a chance to go through," he said to SkySports.

"Now I need to win my next two matches more than likely and win them well if I want to go through."

Federer will hope to continue his progress towards a seventh Finals title, but will face stiff opposition against the US Open finalist Nishikori in this the Japanese youngster's debut competition. 

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Topics:
ATP World Tour Finals
Novak Djokovic
Tennis
Stanislas Wawrinka

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