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The Draw: 30 June

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Order of Play: 2 July

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Tuesday, 15 November 2016 11:54 AM GMT
ATP Finals Day 2: Murray makes winning debut as world No.1 rounds up the action from Day 2 at the ATP World Tour Finals. READ MORE

Andy Murray d. Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2

There was an extra pop to the roar that greeted Andy Murray as he took to court. After all, this was the first time a British audience had laid eyes on a singles world No.1 from their own shores - at least since the dawn of the ATP rankings.

The gathered crowds were repeatedly reminded of Murray’s world-leading status, with each mention drawing more decibels than the last. This was an historic moment for British tennis, but the subsequent proceedings didn't quite live up to the hype.

Arguably a meeting between the two form players in the entire tournament, Cilic and Murray combined to produce a ratio of 7 winners to 28 unforced errors in a scratchy opening set, with the Brit’s breaks of serve at 1-0 and 2-1 proving decisive.

Murray eventually found his range at 2-1 down in the second set, and he moved through the gears before arriving at a level Cilic was unable to handle. By now, the crowd was finally being treated to a performance worthy of Murray's ranking, and he won five consecutive games to record his first win as the official world No.1.

“It was a great reception, obviously,” said Murray of his rapturous welcome.

“(It was) a really, really good atmosphere tonight. It was obviously nice to play in that stadium with the crowd like that. It obviously helps.

"After a long few months, it’s nice to know that I’m going to be finishing the year playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more, as well.”

Verdict: One of the oldest - and truest - adages in sport is that top players can win without being at their best. This wasn't vintage Murray, but he never looked unduly troubled by Cilic, who could have given the world No.1 an extremely awkward evening.

Kei Nishikori d. Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3

The tennis season is a long and gruelling one, and that fact was none more evident than in Wawrinka's performance on Monday afternoon.

Exactly two months ago, the Swiss pummelled his way past Nishikori in their US Open semi-final clash. Here, he could barely find the court, hitting a total of 31 unforced errors as Nishikori raced to a 67-minute victory.

"It was not a great match compared to what I can do, that’s for sure," admitted the world No.3.

"I don’t think I found anything on the court today. I was a little bit slow on everything. I was hesitating a lot with my game, my movement.

"I was expecting a good match. It didn't happen today. It's not the first time I've lost the first match here."

But where Wawrinka was sluggish, Nishikori was sharp, and given that he didn't face a single break point on his serve, it wasn't surprising to see the Japanese aiming high after the match.

"I’m not thinking too much about rankings, but it would be nice if I could finish four or three," he said.

"Next year I hope I can stay up at No. 4 or No. 3 and try to catch up with Andy and Novak".

Verdict: This was the archetypal bad day at the office for Wawrinka. But as he pointed out, he lost his first round robin match last year too, and still reached the semi-finals. Nishikori, though, appears to be positively fresh, and looks a good bet to match his semi-final showing at the O2 in 2014.

Best points

Henri Kontinen, John Peers, Marc Lopez and Feliciano Lopez combined to produce one of the doubles points of the year, while Nishikori showcased some fine volleying skills of his own...

Best quote

Question: "In terms of competing with Wawrinka's shorts last year and yours, which are the worst?"

Marin Cilic: "Next question (smiling). It's for some fashion gurus to decide..."

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