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10sBalls Tennis Update From London • Upset In Dubs • Not in Singles (Not Against Federer!)

Photo by @ATPWorldTour via Twitter



Upset in doubles, but not in singles (not against Federer!) on Sunday afternoon at World Tour Finals


By Ricky Dimon


There was a big upset during the first session of the 2017 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals. No, it did not involved Roger Federer. Prior to Federer taking the court for singles action on Sunday afternoon, the eighth-seeded doubles duo of Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus toppled the world No. 2 team of Henri Kontinen and John Peers 6-4, 7-6(8).


Kontinen and Peers had never previously lost a match in London, as they went undefeated en route to the title last fall–capping off a brilliant first season together. The Finnish-Australian pairing had chances in this one, but they failed to convert a set point at 7-6 in the tiebreaker. Harrison and Venus, the French Open champions, eventually capitalized on their third match point at 9-8.


Harrison posted the following on Instagram: “Got the win at the @atpworldtour finals group stage Rnd 1!”


“Awesome to get the win at the O2 today,” Venus added.


Wins at the O2 are nothing new for Federer, who improved to 53-12 lifetime at the year-end championship (26-7 in London) by beating Jack Sock 6-4, 7-6(4) in the tournament’s opening round-robin singles match. The 36-year-old Swiss prevailed after one hour and 31 minutes.


Federer could have made things easier on himself, but he converted only one of six break-point opportunities. Still, he was never under any serious pressure. The world No. 2 did not face a single break point the entire way while serving at 63 percent and winning an awesome 36 of 40 (90 percent) first-serve points.


“I had a tactical plan with my team,” Federer explained. “But very often in a first match like this, it gets thrown overboard because at the end you’re just happy to be serving well. Focus on that first, and then on the return game sort of try your best, try to keep the ball in play, and go from there…. I think we’re all going to start playing better every round that goes by. It’s just still early days in the tournament. Can’t expect to play your best against the best players in the world in that first match.”


Sock was making his World Tour Finals debut–and unexpectedly so after making a dream run to the Paris title. The American seemed to enjoy the experience while also being competitive.


At one point Sock turnedaround and offered his backside to be hit when Federer had an easy forehand near the net. Somehow, Federer dumped the shot in the net.


“I did it more for fun,” Sock said. “Probably do it three times a year. No, it’s not a normal tactic.”


“It was a big distraction,” Federer joked. “I’ll tell you that.Because it was very big. That’s what I should have aimed for. That target was bigger than the down-the-line court that I had.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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