• Top seed powers to 6-4, 6-2 victory in Group K match in London • Andy Murray leads group in straight sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic has been far from his best but the top seed looked in great touch as he beat Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-2 in his opening match at the ATP Finals in London.
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A shoulder injury and defeats against Donald Young and Alexander Zverev in his opening two round-robin matches have undermined his bid to return to the top of the men’s game and he is now under pressure to maintain his form.
But he seems to have found his shotmaking touch in time to ensure his place in London for at least one more match.
The match did not begin on a high for Djokovic, who faced break points against the American on the opening two games of the match, survived the first and then promptly lost his serve to trail 3-2.
But a string of booming groundstrokes from Djokovic put him straight back in front and a couple of more breaks gave him a 4-2 lead, and when Ruud could not beat a backhand from the Serb on his own serve he faltered again and Djokovic forced the decisive break.
After a few service breaks in a row the world No2 held serve to seal the match in his next service game and moved within one victory of a quarter-final spot.
John Isner of the US remains the top seed in Group K with Djokovic, David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga already through to the last eight.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic beat Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 while Zverev edged Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-7, 7-6.
Elsewhere the second seed, Andy Murray, rallied to beat the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-1, Marton Fucsovics came from two sets down to beat Feliciano López 2-6, 3-6, and the No3 seed, Milos Raonic, breezed past Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-2.