London: Andy Murray delighted the home crowd when he opened the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Robin Soderling on Sunday.
Murray, who slipped below Soderling to fifth in the world rankings this week after the Swede won the Paris Masters, seized on a slow start by his opponent to claim victory in the opening match in Group B which also contains Roger Federer.
The 23-year-old Scot broke serve in the third and seventh games to take the opening set but was made to work harder in the second as Soderling began to find his range.
Murray survived his only break point of the match at 2-3 in the second set and pounced in the following game with some sparkling tennis inside the cavernous arena which was filled to its 17,500 capacity.
Three games later Murray closed out the one hour 20 minute contest to pocket the USD 120,000 (75,075.08 pounds) up for grabs for each round-robin victory. Four more performances of similar quality could see the Briton cashing in the $1.6-million prize for an undefeated champion.
Swiss world number two Federer will stand in his way though. The 16-times grand slam champion, who is bidding to win the year-end showpiece for a fifth time, plays Spain`s David Ferrer later on Sunday.
Rafael Nadal, who is already assured of the year-end number one ranking, begins in Group A on Monday against American Andy Roddick. Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych make up Group A.