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Federer crashes to Nishikori in opener

Federer crashes to Nishikori in opener

Next up, it was Roger Federer who took on Dominic Thiem in a must-win encounter for both, and it was the Swiss who eased passed the error-strewn Austrian in straight, 6-2, 6-3, sets to keep a ideal 16-0 record in second round-robin encounters at the ATP finals.

The Swiss maestro found himself with his back to the wall after an error-strewn loss to Kei Nishikori in his opening round-robin match - his first straight sets defeat in 46 group stage matches at the season-ending showpiece.

But in the next three sets he played, Nishikori won just two games as he was pulverised 6-0 6-1 by Kevin Anderson on Tuesday, before Dominic Thiem won Thursday afternoon's opener 6-1.

He described the prospect of reaching a century of career wins this week as the "perfect storm", but the Swiss' hopes took an early blow with a first-round defeat by Kei Nishikori in London. The world number six said he produced one of his best ever displays.

Anderson served down 10 aces during his victory, winning the first 11 games before Nishikori got on the scoreboard.

"That's okay. If I don't pass, I don't pass, and I deserve not to pass. Alexander Zverev fumes at major issue after Novak Djokovic loss Novak Djokovic reveals true thoughts of new ATP Cup - full format "Important for me is to play a good last match here in the round-robin, try to beat Kevin".

"I felt fresh, but I just didn't feel the ball this week", said Nishikori.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic aiming to liven up underwhelming ATP Finals
But I've said it before", Zverev, whose 55 match wins this year is more than any other player, told reporters. Croatian No. 5 seed Cilic now faces an uphill task to qualify from the group with two matches left to play.


Yet he was comprehensively outplayed by the six-foot-eight-inch Anderson, who came within one game of equalling Federer's 6-0 6-0 thrashing of Gaston Gaudio in 2005 - still the only "double bagel" in the 48-year history of the tournament. "I did a really good job constantly applying the pressure and not letting up".

Thiem saved a break point in the opening game but at 1-1 he sent a forehand long to give Federer the advantage he never really looked like relinquishing.

"I was growing in confidence and he sort of probably was going a little the other way". Sometimes, I get asked, 'Do you want to play day or night?'. "My group's pretty tough, I've got Nishikori, Thiem and Anderson".

"But a lot of the facts are not right, just to be clear there, from what I heard".

"For me, it was one of the worst days in the year", he said.

Anderson is in pole position, but qualification for the semi-finals is still possible for all four players.


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