Sunday, August 19The Voice of London

ATP World Tour Finals: Tennis Elite Meet At The O2

The second day of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals lived up to all expectations including dramatic comebacks and intense matches. Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal came out as winners in the first round of the Ilie Nastase group. The doubles were dominated by the Dutch-Romanian and Croatian-Brazilian pairs.

Words: Ena Bilobrk, Subeditor: Jack Everitt

Video: Ena Bilobrk

Ivan Dodig serving. Source: Ena Bilobrk
Ivan Dodig serving. Source: Ena Bilobrk

The tennis season ends with it’s toughest tournament. Where the worlds top eight in men’s singles and doubles fight for the title of best in the world.

The final is divided into two singles groups and two doubles groups. The singles groups are named after American Tennis legend Stan Smith and Romanian former world No. 1 Ilie Nastase. The doubles groups bear names of the greatest doubles Ashe/Smith and Fleming/McEnroe.

Day two at the O2 arena marked the opening matches for the Ilie Nastase and Fleming/McEnroe groups.

The first match of the day saw an encounter between the pairs: Marcin MatowskiNenad Zimonjic and Jean-Julien RojerHoria Tecau. Rojer and Tecau were playing well from the beginning and won in straight sets 6-2 6-4 against the Polish-Serbian pair.

The result moved Rojer and Tecau to No. 1 in the world after the Bryan brothers lost their opening match in the Ashe/Smith group.

For the first single’s match of the day, David Ferrer and Andy Murray, the before empty arena filled up in no time at all. The audience expected an easy home-win for Murray against the Spanish number seven.

Ferrer seemed to be motivated by the role of the underdog, breaking Murray to a 2-0 lead in the second set. Murray fans audibly groaned after mistakes. But the Scot fought back and won in straight sets 6-4 6-4 against the Spaniard.

Andy Murray is now only one win away from securing his place as the year-end No. 2, the best result of his career to date.

Most spectators took a break to refresh for the match of the day, but the ones who stayed for the next double’s match were rewarded for their patience.

The last double’s match was the most intense and dramatic match of day two. Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo kept their dream alive, finishing as the year-end No.1 after beating French duo Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

The match opened honouring the Paris attacks, as the court lit up in blue white and red. The majority of the crowd actively supported the French, who were ‘Playing for Paris’.

Herbert and Mahut were playing for Paris. Source: Ena Bilobrk
Herbert and Mahut were playing for Paris. Source: Ena Bilobrk

Herbert and Mahut played confidently and were quickly took a one set lead, firing up the crowd in the arena. But the Croatian-Brazilian duo kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, fighting back with clever movement and trick shots – securing their 33rd victory of the year.

Spanish and Swiss flags dominated the arena, preparing for the entrance of Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.

After a disappointing season, winning the opening match was important to Nadal. In the recent meeting in Paris, Wawrinka had beaten the Spaniard in the quarterfinals. But French Open winner Wawrinka had to fight hard against a brilliant Nadal, who forced him into several mistakes. Rafael Nadal took advantage of his opponent’s errors and secured an impressive 6-2 6-3 win.

In last years tournament over 260,000 visitors came through the gates and this year there’s likely to be even more.

Tennis fever is set to continue in London until November the 22nd, when a new number one will be announced.

For more insights and exclusive interviews with the tennis stars, tune in for the latest episode of our Singing in the Stands podcast every Friday at 5.00pm.