Roger Federer was relegated to a straight-set defeat at the hands of Kei Nishikori in his first round-robin at the ATP Finals on Sunday while Kevin Anderson kick-started his campaign with a win.
What made Federer’s loss even harder to fathom was this was the first time ever he had been beaten in straight sets in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals. And the only positive Federer can take into his next match is that he has lost his ATP Finals opener before and gone on to win that title – it had happened in 2007, where he lost to Fernando Gonzalez before defeating Andy Roddick, Nikoay Davydenko, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer to clinch the title.
However, this is moving too far ahead. The Swiss maestro’s 34 unforced errors was the leading cause of his loss at the hands of the Japanese number one, who had qualified for the event following the withdrawal of Juan Martin del Potro.
Federer admitted he was under no illusions his 2018 wasn’t going to go as well as 2017 had gone and said he was pretty satisfied with his 2018 as well after having won the Australian Open.
“My  season was never going to be exactly like last year. I knew that going into the season. If you thought I was going to have, I think you are dreaming. I’m happy how I played this season. I didn’t feel like playing less was a problem.”
Speaking of this particular loss Federer said nerves might have played a part in the defeat, with his inability to attack the second serves as well as he would have loved to do.
In the other match of the day, South Africa’s first ATP Finals qualifier since Wayne Ferreira, Anderson registered a 6-3, 7-6 win over Dominic Thiem. There was just one break of serve in the entire match which came in the fourth game as Anderson quickly ran off to a 4-1 lead.
Anderson had a couple of set points at 5-2 off Thiem’s serve but he served out the set to go 1-0 up.
The match went on serve till the tie-breaker in the second set in which Anderson had three match-points too but Thiem saved all of them. It was only off the fourth that Anderson finished off the match and went to the top of the table in his group.
Watch the Federer v Nishikori highlights here: