The opening day of the ATP World Tour Finals started with both the highly fancied players, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer picking up wins.
But things where far from simple for last year’s finalists both being pushed to three sets.
Up first was defending champion Federer facing world number six Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The pair had already met six times this season with the world number four winning four of those matches including their last meeting a week ago in the Paris final.
This match proved tougher but Federer came away with a three set victory 6-2 2-6 6-4 breaking Tsonga leading 5-4 to take the match.
Rafael Nadal, who has not played in over a month started his tournament against world number eight Mardy Fish. In an up and down match for both players Nadal finally prevailed 6-2 3-6 7-6(3) in just under three hours. The pair traded breaks in the third set before Nadal sealed the victory in the tiebreaker.
The pair will now face each other in the round robin stage in what will be the 26th meeting between the great foes. Nadal clearly leads their head to head record 17-8 but on hard courts they have both won four matches each and Nadal has never defeated Federer at a season ending event losing to the world number four three times including in last year’s final. Nadal has won all three of their matches this season including the French Open final and on the hard court of Miami.
Tsonga will face Fish with the Frenchman winning their only previous meeting this year at the US Open.