Scrappy Federer wins Tour Finals opener

Scrappy Federer wins Tour Finals opener

When Sock was asked if he was surprised Federer had missed that shot, the American responded that it wasn't the first time he had turned his back like that.

'We all needed to be ready to take that advantage and I would say that Roger came out of the blocks a little bit better than Rafa. "I never thought I'd be getting this trophy this time previous year", the Spaniard said.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer can set up a dream climax to the 2017 season at the ATP World Tour Finals, but organisers are sweating on the Spaniard's fitness and a new crop are itching to spoil the party.

"It's wonderful to be back, especially after missing previous year with injury", he added.

That was the only break point for either player in the first set.

Sock's nothing-to-lose approach produced an engaging contest but Federer's clinical play was too much for him.

"It was a courageous move for him to just put himself out there, give it a go", said Federer.

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Rafael Nadal's right knee has naturally dominated the discussion heading into the Finals but he's been looking decent in practice so far in London and the team's spirits appear to be high.

"But I still think he has a long way to go to get back and be 100 per cent".

More stoic resistance by Sock saw him fend off more danger at 5-5 but Federer remained untouchable on serve and won 29 of 32 points on his delivery in the second set.

The Swiss ace, who is making his 15th appearance at the end-of-season event, secured a 6-4 7-6 victory over his American opponent who, in contrast, was making his tournament debut following his victory at last week's Paris Masters.

Still, it's hard seeing anyone other than the second-seeded Federer lifting the trophy on Sunday. "The crowd, the atmosphere is incredible", Zverev, who reveled on the big stage, told reporters after the late-night finish. Perhaps I should have aimed at it - the target was bigger than the down-the-line court I had!

Sock started the year well winning Auckland and Delray Beach in the first two months of the season and going deep at Indian Wells and Miami but he went on a five-match losing streak between August and October and his challenge faded.

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