ATP Tour Finals: Djokovic and Federer make winning start

Djokovic has arrived at London's O2 Arena hoping to win the prestigious season-ending event for a fifth time and in the process become the first player to lift the trophy four years in a row.

Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning.   -  REUTERS

Novak Djokovic made a flying start to his bid for a record fourth successive ATP Tour Finals title as the defending champion routed Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1 on Sunday.

Djokovic has arrived at London's O2 Arena hoping to win the prestigious season-ending event for a fifth time and in the process become the first player to lift the trophy four years in a row.

The world number one showed why he is the firm favourite to do just that, demolishing Nishikori in 65 minutes in the tournament's opening match to record his 23rd successive win and his 79th victory in 84 matches this year.

Even by Djokovic's sky-high standards, 2015 has been a golden period for the 10-time Grand Slam winner, who has cemented his position as the sport's pre-eminent force with one of the best single seasons in the Open era.

The 28-year-old has amassed 10 titles, including the Australian and US Opens, Wimbledon and a record six Masters tournaments.

Since losing to Roger Federer in the Cincinnati final in August, Djokovic has been unbeatable and Nishikori never came close to inflicting his first Tour Finals defeat in 15 matches.

Just before the match started, Djokovic and Nishikori joined the capacity 17,500 crowd in a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the horrific Paris attacks, with the French flag displayed on screens above and around the court.

Unaffected by that sombre opening, Djokovic set about dismantling Nishikori in typically relentless fashion and landed the first blow with a break in the second game.

Nishikori, ranked eighth in the world, is making his second appearance at the Tour Finals after marking his maiden entry last year with a run to the last four.

Djokovic pressed home his advantage with one more break for a 4-1 lead and quickly served out his 38th consecutive indoor match victory.

Meanwhile Federer, the oldest Tour Finals qualifier since Andre Agassi in 2005, is undeniably in the twilight of his career, yet the 34-year-old is still good enough to compete for the sport's top prizes and is in the hunt for a semi-final berth once again after easing past Berdych in 69 minutes.

To cap an enjoyable day for Federer, he was presented with an award as the fans' favourite player in 2015 and he said: "I enjoy getting awards, especially the ones that are awarded by the fans. "I have always sought perfection. I look forward to your support next year, and the year after that, and the year after that."

Berdych initially seemed capable of causing an upset when a pair of Federer double faults contributed to the Swiss being broken in the second game. But the 17-time Grand Slam winner brushed off that sluggish opening with an immediate response as he hit back in the next game when Berdych slipped on break point. A hard-fought set swung Federer's way when an error-strewn service game from Berdych gifted him a decisive second break at 4-4.

With the first set wrapped up, Federer tightened his grip with another break in the first game of the second set. That effectively ended Berdych's hopes and Federer cruised to the finish line with one more break.