Victorious Murray sets up London showdown against inform Federer
Willie Grace | 11/11/2014, 8:56 p.m. | Updated on 11/11/2014, 8:56 p.m.
(CNN) -- Local favorite Andy Murray was a man under pressure but it seldom showed as he kept his ATP World Tour Finals bid alive on Tuesday.
The Scot knew that anything other than victory against Canadian Milos Raonic would have eliminated him from the prestigious season-ending event in London.
After losing his opening match to Japan's Kei Nishikori on Sunday, Murray raised his game as he won 6-3 7-5 while Raonic, who suffered his second straight defeat, hit 33 unforced errors.
"On Sunday, there wasn't much magic," Murray said on court after victory. "Today, I came up with some good shots at the right moments. Milos didn't serve as well as he can.
"I played a solid match."
The Scot now needs to beat an inform Roger Federer in both players' final Group B game on Thursday to be sure of reaching the semifinals.
Federer tops the group with a 100% record, while both Murray and Nishikori have won one and lost one.
"It's always a pleasure to play against Roger," Murray added.
"He's one of the greatest players that's ever played the game so to get the opportunity to play him in an atmosphere like this is excellent."
Murray may well find that he doesn't receive all the support at the O2 Arena given the sizable Swiss contingent that greeted their favorite's 6-3 6-2 victory over Nishikori earlier on Tuesday.
With two wins out of two in Group B, following a straight sets win over Raonic on Sunday, Federer is on course to match his dependable displays at the season-ending tournament.
993 and counting...
The 33-year-old, who needs just one set to go through, has reached the semifinals on all but one of his 12 previous appearances at the World Tour Finals.
Should he reach the last four, he will match the record of Ivan Lendl -- who reached the last four of the competition on 12 occasions.
A masterly display against Nishikori, the first Asian man to qualify for the World Tour singles, also took Federer to within seven wins of 1,000 career victories.
Currently boasting 993 triumphs from 1,219 matches, only Jimmy Connors (1,253 wins) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) have previously broken a barrier that is testament to both longevity and class.
"It would obviously be cool to get there -- I think it's a great number," said the 17-time grand slam champion, to cheers and the sound of cowbells from a vocal Swiss contingent.
He also has the chance to finish the year as No. 1 for a record-equalling sixth time, although any possibility of doing so will be dashed should Djokovic, who beat U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic in his opening match on Monday, win all three of his Group A games.
Nishikori, who lacked the poise he showed when beating Murray in his opening match on Sunday, showered praise on the evergreen Federer afterwards.
"I never feel that he's 33," said the 24-year-old, who finished runner-up at this year's U.S. Open. "He still looks young and plays amazing tennis."
On Wednesday, Group A hosts its second round of matches as Djokovic meets Stan Wawrinka while Cilic and Tomas Berdych both go in search of their first wins.
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