The ATP World Tour Finals begin today. The world’s top 8 players (minus Rafa) are in London, ready to square off in round-robin action. Today, Andy Murray will start things off by battling Tomas Berdych, and Novak Djokovic will take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Surprisingly, Berdych leads the head-to-head against Murray 4-3, but the US Open champion is still probably the favorite. Djokovic leads the head-to-head against Tsonga, 8-5, but the Frenchman hasn’t beaten the World No. 1 since the 2010 Australian Open.
Join me as I liveblog all the action!
1:53pm – There’s a bit of a delay while a doubles match wraps up. Murray and Berdych should be on court in about 15 minutes.
2:03pm – Over-under on how many times they play London Calling this year? Berdych and Murray are taking the court. There are fog machines.
2:05pm – Andy Murray’s shirt seems unnecessarily tight, is it just me?
Seriously, is it lycra? #muzzkit
— Rhian (@rosso_neri) November 5, 2012
In that shirt Muzz could audition for a Queen cover band.
— BadToss (@BadToss) November 5, 2012
2:18pm – Murray puts pressure on Berdych in his very first service game, but Berdych holds, staving off two break points.
2:23pm – Murray holds for 1-all and hits a highlight-reel running forehand to get to 0-15 on Berdych’s second service game.
2:35pm – Murray gets to 0-40 on Berdych’s serve, but once again Berdych fights off the break points and holds for 3-2.
Murray complaining that the crowd “lit up” on break point
— Ricky Dimon (@RD_Tennistalk) November 5, 2012
2:41pm – It’s Berdych who draws first blood in the match. He breaks for 4-2.
Andy has taken a very strong dislike to his right shoe. Must be the yellow laces
— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) November 5, 2012
2:55pm – Berdych unwraps a new tennis racquet and tries to get the ballkid to help him take the plastic off. Ballkid snubs him. Hilarity ensues:
2:58pm – Berdych wins the first set 6-3.
3:12pm – Huge hold for Murray. He fought off a few break points in the process.
3:20pm – On the 11th try, Murray finally converts a break point to go up 3-1.
3:36pm – Berdych is serving to stay in the second set at 2-5. All signs point to a third set, since Murray is playing much better now.
3:42pm – The home crowd is delighted as Murray takes the second set, 6-3. Winners-unforced: Murray – 15-6, Berdych – 12-10 in the second set. On to a decider.
3:51pm – Per Greg Sharko, Berdych is 12-6 in decisive-set matches this year, Murray is 9-7 (2-3 since the US Open).
4:10pm – Murray leads 3-2 with a break in the third set. And Boris Becker is winning Twitter again:
— Boris Becker (@Becker_Boris) November 5, 2012
4:28pm – After double-faulting on his first match point, Murray makes the second one count, beating Berdych, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
— Marcos Zugasti (@marcos_z) November 5, 2012
8:02pm – I’m back for Djokovic vs. Tsonga. Djokovic wins the toss, and elects to serve.
8:24pm – Djokovic and Tsonga both hold for 1-all, although Tsonga had a break chance in Djokovic’s first service game. In the third game of the match, Tsonga needlessly hits a one-handed topspin backhand, botching an easy passing shot in the process. Djokovic holds again for 2-1.
8:35pm – Tsonga produces the most dazzling shot of the match so far, hitting an incredible angled forehand winner in the fourth game of the match:
9:05pm – Djokovic fights off yet another Tsonga break chance on his serve to go up 6-5. Tsonga is likely to regret not converting on one of his chances. Tsonga will serve to force a tiebreak.
9:17pm – Djokovic takes the first set in a tiebreak, 7-4. Though Tsonga was arguably the better player for most of the set, his missed break chances cost him.
That set could be described as dramatically inevitable. #finalshowdown
— Erik Gudris (@ATNtennis) November 5, 2012
Jo is the Sam Stosur of men’s tennis.
— Erika(@10SFreakoid) November 5, 2012
9:24pm – Tsonga immediately gets broken after dropping the first set. Djokovic could move into cruise mode in this second set, unless Tsonga can find a way into Djokovic’s service games.
9:43pm – Umpire Mohamed Lahyani nearly startles me into falling off my chair, overruling a terrible out call.
Umpire Lahyani nearly deafens 17,500 people at the O2 with a correction. He loves a crowd. #ATPTourFinals
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) November 5, 2012
MoLay: the volume of his “correction” is directly proportional to the size of the error that he is overruling.
— Chris P (@scoobschris) November 5, 2012
9:51pm – Djokovic breaks again for the match. He beats Tsonga, 7-6, 6-3. Tsonga won just two solitary points on Djokovic’s serve in the final set. A bit of a collapse after the first set tiebreak.
Thanks for following our Day One liveblog. I’ll be back for more of the action this week in London!