Roger Federer beats Jack Sock to clinch opening win in London
Roger Federer v Jack Sock 6-4 7-6

Roger Federer beats Jack Sock to clinch opening win in London

12/11/2017

Roger Federer won his opening round of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, defeating Jack Sock in straight sets.

Whatever else happens to Jack Sock at the ATP Finals this week, his between-the-legs volley at 4-4 in the second set of his debut match will feature in the end-of-tournament showreel.

Trouble is Roger Federer was on the other side of the net and Sock's magic moment proved in vain as the Swiss maestro spun a backhand winner past the stranded American.

Sock, the first American to qualify for the ATP Finals since 2011, felt Federer's winner owed a little to luck -- not that the world number two needed much of that commodity to claim his 53rd career victory in the season-ender.

"It was a minor shank. I don't know, it's Roger I guess. He can do no wrong. Everything goes in," Sock, who pushed the 36-year-old hard in a 6-4 7-6(4) defeat having dropped serve in the opening game, told reporters.

It was a fairly accurate description of Federer's astonishing year in which, after a six-month lay-off at the end of 2016, he returned to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon to reach 19 grand slam titles.

His seven titles so far this season is his best return since he won eight in 2007 and few would bet against him matching that by winning the a first ATP Finals title since 2011.

Not everything Federer hit went in on Sunday.

The world number two, who warmed up for London by donning a kilt in an exhibition match against Andy Murray on Tuesday, was not at his clinical best.

Two stunning backhands in the opening game of the match in a packed O2 Stadium earned him the only break in a match in which Sock, and his atomic forehand, was always a threat.

Federer, the oldest player to qualif6y for the ATP Finals since 1970, looked aghast as two break points went begging at 3-3 and another two at 4-4 in the second set.

Further stoic resistance by Sock saw him fend off more danger at 5-5 but Federer's serve was Swiss timing personified -- winning 29 of 32 points on his delivery in the second set.

Federer jumped into a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak and although Sock finally took a point off the six-time champion's serve to level at 4-4, Federer won the next three points.

"I had a tactical plan with my team. But very often in a first match like this, it gets thrown overboard and you're just happy to be serving well," Federer, who has never lost a set to Sock in four meetings, told reporters.

"Now I think I'm in the tournament. Just full steam ahead every match that comes."

Sock is one of four first-time qualifiers here, having gate-crashed the end-of-season party by winning the Paris Masters, from which Federer pulled out after suffering some aches and pains.

That decision meant Federer could no longer catch Rafael Nadal for the end-of-season number one spot for which he received his award on Sunday.

"He was better throughout the year. He played more tournaments. He was incredibly successful throughout," Federer said of the Spaniard who won the French Open and the U.S. Open having lost to Federer in an epic Melbourne final.

"I don't have any regrets because I feel like in my stage of my competition, my age, either it comes to me or it doesn't."

Later on Sunday German youngster Alexander Zverev makes his ATP Finals bow against Marin Cilic, while Nadal opens his round-robin campaign against David Goffin on Monday.

Related news

Pouille defeats Darcis in Davis Cup decider

Pouille defeats Darcis in Davis Cup decider

Lucas Pouille deafeted Steve Darcis in straight sets in the Davis Cup decider to ensure victory for France.

Goffin beats Tsonga to set up Davis Cup final decider

Goffin beats Tsonga to set up Davis Cup final decider

Belgium's David Goffin produced another brilliant performance to beat France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-3 6-2 and take the Davis Cup final into a deciding rubber.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga win leaves France-Belgium Davis Cup final all-square

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga win leaves France-Belgium Davis Cup final all-square

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga demolished Steve Darcis 6-3 6-2 6-1 to bring France level at 1-1 with Belgium after the first day of the Davis Cup final on Friday.

Grigor Dimitrov outlasts David Goffin in title thriller

Grigor Dimitrov outlasts David Goffin in title thriller

Grigor Dimitrov clinched the ATP World Tour Finals title with a thrilling 7-5 4-6 6-3 victory over David Goffin in a season-ending classic.

Dimitrov beats Sock to set up ATP Final against Goffin

Dimitrov beats Sock to set up ATP Final against Goffin

Grigor Dimitrov stood one win away from the biggest title of his career on Saturday after ending his Jack Sock jinx to reach the final of the season-ending ATP Finals at the 02 Arena.

David Goffin hits back to shock Roger Federer and reach final

David Goffin hits back to shock Roger Federer and reach final

Belgium's David Goffin pulled off a huge shock to beat six-times champion Roger Federer 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals on Saturday.

Grigor Dimitrov demolishes Pablo Carreno Busta to reach ATP semi-finals in style

Grigor Dimitrov demolishes Pablo Carreno Busta to reach ATP semi-finals in style

Grigor Dimitrov produced a ruthless performance right out of the top drawer to brush aside a struggling Pablo Carreno Busta in the final group-stage match of the ATP Finals in London.

David Goffin eases past Dominic Thiem to set up Roger Federer clash

David Goffin eases past Dominic Thiem to set up Roger Federer clash

David Goffin beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 on Friday to secure his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals where he will face Roger Federer.

Jack Sock seals semi-final spot as Alexander Zverev crashes out

Jack Sock seals semi-final spot as Alexander Zverev crashes out

Jack Sock reached the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday evening with 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Alexander Zverev.

RELATED NEWS

Pouille defeats Darcis in Davis Cup decider
Lucas Pouille v Steve Darcis 6-3 6-1 6-0

Pouille defeats Darcis in Davis Cup decider

Lucas Pouille deafeted Steve Darcis in straight sets in the Davis Cup decider to ensure victory for France.

Goffin beats Tsonga to set up Davis Cup final decider
David Goffin v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-3 6-2

Goffin beats Tsonga to set up Davis Cup final decider

Belgium's David Goffin produced another brilliant performance to beat France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-3 6-2 and take the Davis Cup final into a deciding rubber.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga win leaves France-Belgium Davis Cup final all-square
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Steve Darcis 6-3 6-2 6-1

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga win leaves France-Belgium Davis Cup final all-square

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga demolished Steve Darcis 6-3 6-2 6-1 to bring France level at 1-1 with Belgium after the first day of the Davis Cup final on Friday.

Grigor Dimitrov outlasts David Goffin in title thriller
Grigor Dimitrov v David Goffin 7-5 4-6 6-3

Grigor Dimitrov outlasts David Goffin in title thriller

Grigor Dimitrov clinched the ATP World Tour Finals title with a thrilling 7-5 4-6 6-3 victory over David Goffin in a season-ending classic.

Dimitrov beats Sock to set up ATP Final against Goffin
Grigor Dimitrov v Jack Sock 4-6 6-0 6-3

Dimitrov beats Sock to set up ATP Final against Goffin

Grigor Dimitrov stood one win away from the biggest title of his career on Saturday after ending his Jack Sock jinx to reach the final of the season-ending ATP Finals at the 02 Arena.

David Goffin hits back to shock Roger Federer and reach final
David Goffin v Roger Federer 2-6 6-3 6-4

David Goffin hits back to shock Roger Federer and reach final

Belgium's David Goffin pulled off a huge shock to beat six-times champion Roger Federer 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals on Saturday.

Grigor Dimitrov demolishes Pablo Carreno Busta to reach ATP semi-finals in style
Grigor Dimitrov v Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-1

Grigor Dimitrov demolishes Pablo Carreno Busta to reach ATP semi-finals in style

Grigor Dimitrov produced a ruthless performance right out of the top drawer to brush aside a struggling Pablo Carreno Busta in the final group-stage match of the ATP Finals in London.

David Goffin eases past Dominic Thiem to set up Roger Federer clash
David Goffin v Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1

David Goffin eases past Dominic Thiem to set up Roger Federer clash

David Goffin beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 on Friday to secure his place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals where he will face Roger Federer.

Jack Sock seals semi-final spot as Alexander Zverev crashes out
Jack Sock v Alexander Zverev 6-4, 1-6, 6-4

Jack Sock seals semi-final spot as Alexander Zverev crashes out

Jack Sock reached the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday evening with 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Alexander Zverev.