Andy Murray has made a winning start to the ATP World Tour finals as he was introduced to a British crowd as the world number one for the first time.
The Scot produced a performance worthy of his status at the O2 Arena as he dismantled Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2, getting stronger as the match progressed and demonstrating no sign that reaching number one has diminished his hunger.
Indeed, Murray started superbly as he broke the Giant Croat twice to lead 3-1 in the opening set. However, the Scot was struggling on his own serve in the opening set, sending down four double faults and only winning 43 per cent of second service points.
This gave Cilic a chance and the 2014 US Open winner secured one break back, but was unable to find a second as Murray closed out the set 6-3.
In the second, Cilic held serve and then had a break point on the Murray serve. However, the world number one saved it and was soon back on top as he raised his game with some superb groundstrokes. He stepped up a gear and broke Cilic twice as he took the set 6-2.
Speaking after the match, Murray expressed delight at playing in front of a home crowd, commenting: "It was a really, really good atmosphere tonight.
"After a long few months, it's nice to know that I'm going to be finishing the year playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more, as well.”
Murray will be hoping for a hat-trick of titles in London this year after his victories at the Aegon Championships and the Championships, Wimbledon.
Fans keen to see his next appearance in the capital can now book corporate hospitality for the 2017 Aegon Championships, where Murray will be seeking to defend his title. Having already won the title a record five times, he will be the player to beat once again.
Cilic has also won the Aegon title, in 2012, and if he plays next year he will be keener to repeat the result of his last outdoor match against Murray - the Cincinnati Masters final in August this year - than their latest meeting in London.
Murray's next match will be against Kei Nishikori, who beat Stan Wawrinka in his opening match and, like Cilic, has come into the tournament having won his last match against the Scot in the US, when he prevailed in a five-set encounter at Flushing Meadow. However, Murray won their last meeting in Britain, a Davis Cup encounter in Birmingham in March.
While Andy Murray seeks to go all the way in the singles, brother Jamie and his partner Bruno Soares have made a great start to the doubles.
They have won both matches so far, beating the Bryan brothers 6-3, 6-4 to put more pressure on French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the race for the year end rankings.
Herbert and Mahut are just 175 points ahead, meaning there is a realistic prospect of both Murray brothers enjoying number one status at the end of the year.
By Sam Coates