Murray and Djokovic off to winning starts at London ATP finals

Andy Murray got off to a winning start at the ATP World Tour Finals, beating Tomas Berdych at the O2 Arena in London

Story highlights

  • Andy Murray wins his opening match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London
  • World No. 3 defeats Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic 3-6 6-3 6-4 at the O2
  • Serbian Novak Djokovic beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-3 in his first game
  • Roger Federer begins his campaign on Tuesday against Janko Tipsarevic
London is a place that holds fond memories for Andy Murray and he got off to the perfect start in his quest to add the ATP World Tour Finals crown to the Olympic glory he tasted back in August.
The world number three made his first major breakthrough at the Games, defeating both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on his way to claiming the men's singles gold.
That success paved the way for the 25-year-old to grab his first grand slam title at the U.S. Open in September, ending Britain's 76 year wait for male singles success.
And at the season-ending tournament in the English capital, Murray put himself in a strong position to qualify from the round robin stage with a three-set victory over Tomas Berdych.
Despite dropping an opening set in which he squandered ten break points, Murray stormed back to defeat the Czech 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Group A.
And he credited the vociferous home support he received as an important factor in his victory.
"I have played some big matches in London the last few months, obviously at Wimbledon and the Olympics and the support right throughout has been great," he said in a court side interview.
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"New York was good too, now it's one last push for the end of the year and having so many people watching helps and that adrenaline rush can push you through."
The World Tour Finals sees the top eight players in the world split into two groups of four, with the top two in each section going through to the semifinals.
And with the qualification criteria going down to the amount of games won and lost if players' overall records are the same, Murray insisted each point he won against Berdych was vital.
"It was very tough from the start -- Berdych has had a great year," he added. "I have played him a few times this year and every time it has been tough.
"If you can you need to treat it like a knockout event because if you win the first two matches you've got a good chance of progressing and you need to focus like its the end of a major event.
"But I have also won two matches here and not gone through a few years ago -- every game counts."
Murray has stuttered a little since landing his first major title at Flushing Meadows, wasting five match points before losing in the Shanghai Masters final to Serbian Novak Djokovic.
Last week he was dumped out of the Paris Masters in the third round by Polish qualifier Jerzy Janowicz, and is keen for a strong end to his season.
Djokovic, who replaced 17-time grand slam winner Roger Federer as the world's No. 1 player on Monday, overcame a tricky opening set to defeat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-3.
The 25-year-old extending his winning run over Tsonga to seven matches and ensured his showdown with Murray will go a long way to deciding who tops the group.
"It's a pleasure to play here once again," Djokovic said in his court-side interview. "I was really looking forward to it because we always enjoy the atmosphere.
"It's the last tournament of the year so we both wanted to win. It means a lot. Especially here, there are no easy matches and no favorites. You just want to do your best and give the crowd something to cheer about."
Tuesday sees Group B action get underway with Federer taking on Serbia's No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic while David Ferrer, the No. 4 seed from Spain, faces Juan Martin Del Potro, from Argentina.