This tournament splits the top eight players in the ATP rankings into two groups. The contestants will compete in round-robin play with the other members of their group, and the two players with the best records will earn spots in the semifinals. All scores and schedules are available via ATPWorldTour.com.
No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic has filled his spot, and the players have kicked off an exciting week of action. Here are results and analysis from the first two matches.
Andy Murray defeats Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Andy Murray entered the tournament as the No. 3 player in the world, with one giant monkey off of his back. Long considered one of the elite players in men’s tennis, he finally completed his climb into the pantheon two months ago with his victory at the U.S. Open.
But Murray’s momentum from his historic win seemed to disappear when he returned home to the United Kingdom to face No. 6 Tomas Berdych and dropped the first set.
After the early mistakes, the Scot cleaned up his play and cruised to a victory. Still, the win was not as clean as Murray would have liked, and the Associated Press notes (via Sports Illustrated) that he failed to convert on 10 break-point chances during the match.
Murray and No. 1 Novak Djokovic will almost certainly battle for the top two spots in this group, and while the U.S. Open champion got the result he needed to open the tournament, he must be sharper when he plays the talented Serb on Wednesday.
Novak Djokovic defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-3
Djokovic, like Murray, did not dominate his opening set, but that did not stop him from taking the early advantage over No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Frenchman put up a spirited effort in the first set, but Djokovic was able to stay with him and squeeze by with a narrow victory. After that, he settled into the match and looked unstoppable.
The Associated Press (via ESPN) quoted Djokovic saying the following after the victory:
To be quite honest, he was the better player throughout the first set. It was very important after the first set. Obviously I relaxed a little bit more, stepped into the court, played more aggressive, and it resulted with a straight-set win.
The Serb appeared sharper than Murray in his opening match, and currently, he looks to be the better bet when these two tennis giants meet later in group play.