As he opened his ATP World Tour Finals campaign, world number one Novak Djokovic had to admit he was given a wake-up call Thomas Berdych before claiming victory in a final set tie-break.
Berdych, the world number seven, won the first set but Djokovic came back to win the next two despite his opponent taking it to match point in the third.
“All credit to Berdych,” Djokovic said afterwards. “It was an incredible match and he was the better player. I was lucky and managed to get the win. In this kind of match – it’s the best eight players in the world and you have to be on top of your game.
“I wasn’t on top of my game but I took my chances. It’s been a long season and I’m taking it one match at a time. This is one of the best arenas in the world.
The hard-won victory was an incredible 70th of the season for Djokovic, who will now play David Ferrer, while Berdych is scheduled to meet Andy Murray, subject to Murray’s injury status.