LONDON • World No. 2 Roger Federer opened his ATP Tour Finals campaign yesterday with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over American Jack Sock in 1hr 34min.
"I got off to a great start, and was able to play a bit more freely after that," the 36-year-old told The Guardian. "The second set was tight, I missed some chances, but he helped me out with some double faults. It's great to be back here, I love playing here and can't wait for my next match."
World No. 8 Sock, 25, qualified for the season-ender for the first time by winning the Paris Masters. He stepped up his game in the second set but made too many mistakes which cost him the match.
Federer improved his record against the American to 4-0.
Rafael Nadal went on court to collect his year-end world No. 1 trophy following the match.
"It's been a fantastic season, a very emotional one after what I've been going through with injuries. I never thought I'd be getting this trophy this time last year," the Spaniard said.
When asked if he would be playing in this tournament amid concerns of his knee injury, he replied: "Thanks very much and see you tomorrow on court."
The 31-year-old starts against Belgium's David Goffin today.
In Milan, South Korean Chung Hyeon doused the fire of Russian Andrey Rublev to win the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals on Saturday, pocketing a US$390,000 (S$530,000) cheque.
Chung, 21, was outplayed in the first set and was 3-1 behind in the second set before taking over to win 3-4 (5-7), 4-3 (7-2), 4-2, 4-2 to complete the five-day tournament unbeaten.
A high-quality final full of sublime ball striking was a fitting end to a promising debut for an event that experimented with innovations like short sets, "sudden-death" deuces and on-court coaching.
The world No. 37 Rublev, the highest-ranked qualifier for the event restricted to players aged 21 and under, lost his cool as the relentless Chung turned the match around.
Day 2: StarHub Ch201, 10pm & tomorrow, 4am