Novak Djokovic survived an early setback, and then made it look all too easy.
The second-ranked Serbian, who has a chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking at the O2 Arena next weekend, rallied to beat Dominic Thiem 6-7 (10), 6-0, 6-2 Sunday in his opening match at the season-ending ATP final.
Djokovic won nine of 10 games to take control of the match after losing the first set in a tiebreaker. And even that was close.
Milos Raonic showed no sign of the leg injury that put his place in the ATP World Tour finals at risk when he beat debutant Gael Monfils handsomely on Sunday.
The Canadian pulled out of his Paris Masters semi-final against Andy Murray with a right thigh injury earlier this month and it was touch and go whether he recovered in time for the London year-ender. Wimbledon runner-up Raonic made a flying start, though, with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over flamboyant Frenchman Monfils.
It was his first victory at the O2 after his debut two years ago resulted in two defeats before he withdrew injured.
Providing Raonic is 100-per-cent fit, the 25-year-old will be a formidable opponent for defending champion Djokovic when they clash on Tuesday. Djokovic lost the No. 1 ranking to Murray last week, but he can earn it right back in London. If either of the two wins the title next Sunday, that one will be assured of the top ranking – as long as Djokovic wins another round-robin match on the way to the final.
Czechs retain Fed Cup title
Czech Republic retained its Fed Cup title on Sunday after Barbora Strycova and Karolina Pliskova defeated their French opponents in the decisive doubles match. Strycova and Pliskova beat Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 7-5 to secure a 3-2 win for the Czechs in the final on the indoor hard court at Rhénus Sport Arena. The Czechs won a fifth title in six years and became the first team to win three consecutive Fed Cups since Spain from 1993-95.
With files from ReutersReport Typo/Error