LONDON-Austria's Dominic Thiem kept alive his hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Gael Monfils on Tuesday.

Thiem lost his opening group stage match against Novak Djokovic, but the Tour Finals debutant could still make the last four after seeing off flamboyant Frenchman Monfils at London's O2 Arena. The 23-year-old will need to defeat Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic in his last group match on Thursday to reach the semi-finals.

Monfils is certain to be eliminated after losing his first two matches at the prestigious season-ending event. "It was a very close match but luckily he helped me in the last game. Maybe I was the lucky one today," Thiem said.

"I am very happy there's still a chance for me to reach the semi-finals, but Milos Raonic is an amazing opponent. "I can't wait to get back out here in this amazing arena."

Thiem is regarded as an emerging star after a breakthrough season and the Austrian had shown no signs of being intimidated by the Tour Finals stage when he took a set off defending champion Djokovic. His gutsy effort and aggressive stroke-play also earned a famous fan in Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who met Thiem after the match and gave him an autograph.

Thiem should garner plenty more backers around the world if he continues to develop at his current rapid pace. Thiem was too powerful for the error-prone Monfils in the first set, securing the only break in the sixth game and using his thudding serve to stay ahead. But, after seeming to be hampered by injury in the first set, Monfils suddenly found his rhythm in a one-sided second set, while Thiem lost his way. Raonic faces Djokovic in the other group match later on Tuesday.

Murray romps to victory: Andy Murray celebrated his rise to the top of the world rankings with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Marin Cilic on Monday night as the Scot made a strong start to his bid to win the ATP Tour Finals. Murray was officially confirmed as the first Briton to reach number one last Monday and he marked his first match since that historic moment by dispatching Cilic at the prestigious season-ending event at London's O2 Arena.

The 29-year-old took only 90 minutes to extend his remarkable winning streak to 20 matches as he looks to add to the four consecutive titles he won in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris. It was exactly the start Murray needed because to guarantee ending 2016 in pole position, he must win the Tour Finals title for the first time, with anything less than that giving Novak Djokovic the chance to overhaul him depending on the deposed number one's own results.

"It's a great atmosphere and I think I played one of my best matches here. I'm going to keep working hard to give people moments like this," Murray said. "I have confidence from winning matches and I was a little bit more solid when I had opportunities."

Murray has enjoyed an incredible 11 months in which he has won Wimbledon for the second time, claimed a second Olympic singles gold medal and become a father for the first time. So it was fitting that Murray's first appearance as the world's best player came within an hour's drive of his family home in Surrey.

While Murray has amassed a combined seven titles across London at Wimbledon and Queen's, he has failed to reach the final of the Tour Finals in six attempts and this was one of his better displays at the O2. Murray emerged to huge cheers from the sell-out 17,000 crowd but, clearly in businesslike mood, he responded only with a shy wave.

 

LONDON: Brazil's Bruno Soares looks on as his partner Britain's Jamie Murray returns against US players Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan during their round robin stage men's doubles match on day three of the ATP World Tour Finals.–AFP