Nishikori stuns Murray as Federer is off to flyer

Sun Nov 9, 2014 5:25pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Japan's Kei Nishikori made a stunning start to the ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Andy Murray on Sunday but fellow debutant Milos Raonic was put firmly in his place by Swiss maestro Roger Federer.

Asian trailblazer Nishikori walked on court accompanied by the usual O2 Arena music and lights before dismantling home favorite Murray with some dazzling special effects of his own.

Canada's Raonic, like Nishikori the first man from his country to qualify for the ATP's year-ending showpiece, began horribly before improving as he lost 6-1 7-6(0) to six-times former champion Federer.

Federer and Nishikori will now meet in Group B on Tuesday when Murray and Raonic will be battling to keep themselves afloat in the round-robin event.

The 24-year-old Nishikori admitted he tried not to look up into the soaring stands at the 17,000 sell-out London venue in a nervous start against Murray, who qualified for the seventh year in succession after three-title burst since September.

Once the U.S. Open runner-up settled, however, he led former Wimbledon champion Murray a merry dance.

Even a late Murray fightback, when the tenacious Scot battled back from 4-1 down in the second set to 4-4, failed to knock Nishikori off track as he closed out an impressive victory on the electric blue indoor court.

"The stadium is huge. I tried not to look up too much because there was too many people on the top," Nishikori, the world number five, told reporters.   Continued...

Kei Nishikori of Japan hits a return during his men's singles tennis match against Andy Murray of Britain at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London November 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Dylan Martinez