Great Britain's Jamie Murray marked his first appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals with a three-set victory alongside double partner John Peers in the opening round robin match against Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini. During a tight encounter at the O2 Arena in London, Murray and Peers claimed the win 7-6 3-6 11-9 to making an impressive start to their campaign.
The 29-year-old Murray is expected to make-up part of GB's Davis Cup final team which is announced on Tuesday [17 November] to face Belgium in Ghent and he displayed plenty of nerve to kick-start his preparations. The Scot becomes the latest Briton to claim a win a fortnight before the final after Kyle Edmund and James Ward's progress in their respective challenger events, in boost for captain Leon Smith.
Murray and Peers, who could finish the year as world number one before going their separate ways, missed the chance to clinch the opening set in the 10th game as Bolelli produced a timely passing shot, but the twice grand slam runners-up were not to be denied for long. The opening set which ebbed and flowed went to a tiebreak which saw Murray serve it out to claim the initiative.
The Italian duo powered back into the match at the start of the second set with the first break of the contest via a stunning Fognini backhand. But some nervy serving from Bolelli, wearing a black ribbon out of respect to 129 people killed during the attacks in Paris, allowed the British-Australian axis to break back.
US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, girlfriend of Fognini was among the 17,000 watching the opening match of the doubles competition and inspired by Italy's first ever singles champions at Flushing Meadows the pair re-established their lead when Murray netted a simple forehand. Fognini set up a match tiebreak by serving out the set in just 31 minutes in the tightest of starts to the tour finals.
Both pairs were locked at 6-6 at the second changeover with mini-breaks few and far between, though Fognini regularly vented his frustration by firing errant shots towards the big screens above the court. Murray and Peers brought up the first match point but the Aussie struck a cross-court backhand wide. But at the second opportunity the number four seeds completed victory via Peers' overhead volley at the net.