The 2013 ATP World Tour Finals are officially underway at the O2 Arena in London, where the top eight players in men's tennis are looking to close out the season with a year-end championship.
There are two pivotal singles matches on the schedule for Day 1. The first saw Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka defeat Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the Group A opener, per Sky Sports News, while Monday's second match, Juan Martin del Potro vs. Richard Gasquet, will kick off action in Group B.
Stanislas Wawrinka beats Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-7 6-3 in opening match at ATP World Tour Finals #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 4, 2013
Although tennis fans will have to wait another day to see Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in action, Day 1 has proven quite exciting already.
Let's get you up to speed on the latest results from London.
|Group A - (7) Stanislas Wawrinka def. (5) Tomas Berdych||6-3, 6-7 (0-7), 6-3|
|Group B - (4) Juan Martin del Potro vs. (8) Richard Gasquet||6-7(4), 6-3, 7-5|
|Group A - (8) Mariusz Fyrstenberg/Marcin Matkowski def. (5) Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi/Jean-Julien Rojer||6-3, 7-6 (10-8)|
|Group B - (6) David Marrero/Fernando Verdasco def. (4) Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez||6-1, 6-4|
Stanislas Wawrinka Topples Tomas Berdych in 3 Sets
Wawrinka opened up singles play in London with a hard-fought victory over Berdych. The Swiss star recorded 43 winners for the match and saved five break points to propel himself to the top of Group A.
Wawrinka came out firing in the opening set, playing with confidence and showing very little fear. This shot chart comparison from TennisTV on Twitter shows just how much more aggressive the No. 7 seed was in the early goings:
Berdych certainly wasn't aided by his serve, though, as tennis writer Erik Gudris pointed out at the conclusion of the first set:
Took him 5 SPs, but Wawrinka serves out 1st set 63. Berdych hasn't shown up. Only 3 winners, 39% 1st serves for Tomas. #FinalShowdown— Erik Gudris (@ATNtennis) November 4, 2013
Though he made a few more unforced errors, Wawrinka was rewarded for his bold style in the first set. He would record a dozen winners through the first nine games to just three for Berdych.
The Czech star would rebound in the second set, though, as both players held serve through 12 games, setting the stage for a dramatic tiebreak. Determined to force a deciding set, a focused Berdych blasted Wawrinka off the court in the extra session, winning seven straight points to take the set.
Berdych's dominant stretch was highlighted by a 137-mph ace.
But Berdych's momentum didn't carry over into the third set. Wawrinka held serve in the opening game and earned the decisive break three games later to go up 3-1 in the set. He would hold serve the rest of the way to close out the final set 6-3.
With the victory, Wawrinka rises to the top of Group A while Berdych will have very little room for error in his next two matches. He'll definitely have to figure out a way to improve in the big moments, particularly on break points, where he went 0-of-5 on Day 1.
Juan Martin Del Potro Kicks off Group B with Win over Richard Gasquet
Juan Martin Del Potro recovered well to defeat Richard Gasquet in three sets. The fourth-seeded Argentine prevailed 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-5, via Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline.
Del Potro Roar: he's through 67 63 75 over Gasquet. Fun one. #finalshowdown— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) November 4, 2013
Gasquet started the match strongly. In particular, his backhand was giving Del Potro fits. Tennis TV has a great breakdown of where the Frenchman was placing his shots, and it was particularly surprising to see where all the winners were.
Although he wasn't getting a ton of winners with that backhand, it was serving to run Delpo all over the court and keep him on the defensive. That would help to set up Gasquet with forehand winners, or force Del Potro into errors.
The London crowd was buzzing after that first set. The BBC's Piers Newbery reported that Gasquet was receiving a great ovation from the French contingent in attendance.
Perhaps the turning point of the match was in the fourth service game of the second set. Del Potro got himself into a 0-40 hole on Gasquet's serve. Only the Argentine star kept fighting and eventually clawed his way back to snatch the game and go up 3-1 in the set. From there, everybody held serve, giving Del Potro the 6-3 set victory.
The third set was more of the same. Both guys were going back and forth, dominating on serve.
Del Potro finally got the break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. He and Gasquet split the next two games to put the fourth seed just one game away from a victory.
Only he lost serve to even the set at 5-5. Delpo lost the first three points of the set to give Gasquet a triple break. But Del Potro immediately broke back to take a 6-5 lead, and eventually won 7-5.
It was a great match, but the Frenchman has to feel he let one get away, as he watched his lead evaporate in the second set and then was broken twice in the third set.
Andy Murray offered some props to Delpo.
Fun match! Delpo deserved the win... gasquet played some nice stuff... good to see some variety out there— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) November 4, 2013
Del Potro left his mark walking off the court.
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