By Martyn Herman
Andy Murray fought past a dogged David Ferrer to win his opening match at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday, showing no sign of being distracted by next week’s Davis Cup final in Belgium.
The Briton, aiming to win the prestigious season-ender for the first time in his career, needed to be at full tilt to finally subdue his Spanish opponent 6-4 6-4.
After Sunday’s two opening singles in the other group saw easy wins for world number one Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Murray and Ferrer produced some absorbing rallies in a near-capacity O2 Stadium.
World number two Murray took the first set when Ferrer, trailing 4-5, served a double-fault.
But he was broken to love at the start of the second set and 33-year-old terrier Ferrer seemed to have the bit between his teeth before dropping serve in the sixth game.
An increasingly-confident Murray piled on the pressure and Ferrer again buckled at 4-5 with Murray completing victory with a volley into an open court.
Murray had spent most of the build-up to the tournament practising on clay in preparation for next week’s Davis Cup final in Ghent where he hopes to lead his country to the title for the first time since 1936.
Later on Monday in the Ilie Nastase Group, Ferrer’s compatriot Rafael Nadal, who missed the tournament last year, takes on French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka.