x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Murray off to a flyer in finale

The 23-year-old began his campaign in the best possible fashion with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Robin Soderling.

Andy Murray serves on his way to victory over Robin Soderling in London yesterday.
Andy Murray serves on his way to victory over Robin Soderling in London yesterday.

LONDON // Andy Murray began his ATP World Tour Finals campaign in the best possible fashion with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Robin Soderling in the opening singles clash yesterday.

The 23-year-old produced a near-flawless performance in the first set and then secured a crucial break of serve in the seventh game of the second to see off his opponent with the minimum of fuss.

The Scot said: "I was pretty excited. It was important to get off to a good start. I managed to hit some good passing shots when I needed to and managed to come through."

Murray has been in decent form lately but no player would have gone into the tournament with more confidence than Soderling, who won the Masters event in Paris the previous weekend to snatch the world No 4 spot off his opponent.

The Swede showed his liking for the O2 Arena on his ATP Finals debut last season, when he reached the semi-finals, while Murray will be aiming to make the last four on home soil for the first time after missing out 12 months ago.

Murray looked the sharper and, in Soderling's second service game, he came up with two terrific passes to set up three break points.

The Swede saved two, the second when Murray just missed with another passing attempt at the end of an epic rally, but at 30-40 the Scot was allowed sight of a second serve and he made no mistake, creaming a trademark backhand down the line.

The court appeared to be playing considerably slower than last year, and it was suiting Murray a lot more than the bigger-hitting Soderling. With Roger Federer waiting later in the round-robin phase, both players knew this match was likely to be crucial to their hopes of qualifying from Group B.

* Press Association