LONDON (AP) — The clang of the advertising sign must have served as a wake-up call for a frustrated Andy Murray.
The U.S. Open champion, playing at home in Britain for the first time since winning his first major title two months ago, wasted 10 break points before finally finding his game and beating Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 Monday in the opening match of the ATP finals.
Murray missed all seven of his break chances in the first set, and then wasted three more in the fourth game of the second set. After the third, he whacked the ball in anguish, but even that failed to make it to the other side of the court. Instead, it clanged off the sponsor sign hanging on the net.
Berdych then put a forehand wide, and Murray finally earned the break he needed to take the second set when his Czech opponent’s forehand sailed long, making it 3-1.
“Unfortunately there was just small details that just decided today,” said Berdych, who had wasted three break points in the previous game.
In the third set, Murray didn’t waste his only opportunity. He converted the one break point he earned to take a 2-1 lead, and then lost only three points on his serve the rest of the way.
Murray was playing in Britain for the first time since ending the country’s 76-year wait for a men’s Grand Slam champion.
Although he reached the Wimbledon final and won the gold medal at the London Olympics, no British man had won a major tennis title since Fred Perry in 1936. Murray changed that in New York, and the crowd cheered loudly when he was introduced. The noise at the O2 Arena, however, died down once the match got going.
Later Monday, top-ranked Novak Djokovic was to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other Group A match at the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world.
Group B, which includes six-time champion Roger Federer, will play Tuesday.
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