Roger Federer eased his way into the ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-1, 7-6 defeat of Canadian newcomer Milos Raonic in his opening round-robin match.
The 33-year-old Swiss, competing for a record 13th time at the season-ender, took advantage of some early Raonic nerves to pocket the opening set in 25 minutes but things got tougher.
Raonic, the first Canadian to qualify for the tournament, began to do damage with his booming serve and even carved out several break point opportunities as world number two Federer’s level dipped slightly.
Six-time champion Federer saved a set point at 5-6 and that proved to be Raonic’s last chance.
Federer quickly asserted himself in the tiebreak and reeled off seven successive points to move top of Group B alongside Japan’s Kei Nishikori who had earlier beaten Andy Murray.
Nishikori started his maiden campaign at the ATP Finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over home favourite Murray.
The fourth-seeded Japanese – the first Asian player to qualify for the year-end championship – was in complete control and secured important points in a tough Group B that also includes Roger Federer and Milos Raonic.