Murray counting on home support

Andy Murray gave the O2 Arena a big thumbs up after opening his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals campaign with an impressive victory over US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

The prestigious end-of-season tournament, where the best eight men of the year compete for a potential US dollars 1.63million jackpot in a round-robin event, is being held in London for the first time after four years in Shanghai.



With a capacity of 17,500, the venue is substantially bigger than Wimbledon's Centre Court and the British number one hailed the home support after battling to a 6-3 3-6 6-2 victory in the opening singles match to put himself at the top of Group A.



"It was great," said the 22-year-old. "It's different. You can't see the crowd when you're on the court, it's so dark. But you obviously hear them.



"When I got close to winning at the end of the match, the atmosphere was excellent. That's going a make a big difference going into the next couple of matches."



Del Potro has won only two matches since his New York triumph - he, like Murray, has been hampered by a wrist injury - and his inconsistency was a feature of the match.



Murray raced into a 5-0 lead but the Argentinian hit back strongly and the world number four frequently found himself chasing down Del Potro's trademark huge groundstrokes.



The 21-year-old appeared to have the momentum going into the decider but a sloppy game allowed Murray to take an early advantage and he sealed victory with another break, capitalising on successive double faults before powering a backhand winner on match point.



Murray continued: "It was a really good start. Obviously I'm happy I managed to come back in the third because he was playing well."



Del Potro knows he now faces an uphill struggle to reach the semi-finals but he can see positive signs.



"I feel good," he said. "I'm starting to play better. Maybe I get the confidence again to finish a good tournament here. But I have very good opponents in front of me."



The other match in Group A was between Roger Federer and Fernando Verdasco and it was the world number one who prevailed 4-6 7-5 6-1 but only after being pushed to the limit in the opening two sets.



Federer, who will face Murray tomorrow, admitted he had had something of an escape, saying: "The whole first set I was struggling to really put normal returns into play.



"My first break points (were) set points and it was a crucial moment for me because I knew the longer the match went, the more my belief was going up and his was going down."



World number two Rafael Nadal begins his campaign this afternoon against Robin Soderling, who became the first man to beat the Spaniard at the French Open this year, while the late match in Group B is between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Russia's Nikolay Davydenko.



BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones