Published:  12:26 AM, 14 November 2017

Federer wins opening match at ATP Finals

Federer wins opening match at ATP Finals Switzerland's Roger Federer returns to US Jack Sock during their men's singles tennis match on Day One of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament in London on November 12. -AFP

One break of serve, and a mini-break, was all Roger Federer needed to win his opening match at the season-ending ATP Finals on Sunday.The 19-time Grand Slam champion broke Jack Sock at the start of his 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory at the O2 Arena. Both then held serve the rest of the way, with Federer losing only three points on his serve in the second set.

"Sure, I had a tactical plan with my team," Federer said. "But very often in a first match like this, it gets thrown overboard because at the end you're just happy to be serving well. Focus on that first, and then on the return game sort of try your best, try to keep the ball in play, and go from there."

The 36-year-old Federer, who is ranked No. 2 in the world and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this season, is the oldest player ever to qualify for the season-ending tournament, which started in 1970.In the late match, Alexander Zverev beat Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Federer broke Sock, who was making his debut at the tournament, in the very first game, hitting a backhand winner to take the 1-0 lead.

"I missed one first serve in the first game," Sock said. "I had my chances. He put me in some awkward positions on some of those forehands."That was the only break point for either player in the first set. But Federer had plenty more in the second set - five, to be exact. He just couldn't convert them.

In the tiebreaker, Federer went ahead 3-2 with a mini-break, but Sock got it back. After another to make it 5-4, however, it was nearly over. Federer won the final two points on his serve to go to 1-0 in the round robin. Sock had his moments, though, including a tweener in the second set when he was leading 40-15. Federer got to it and hit a backhand winner.

-AP, London

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