Carlos Alcaraz suffered defeat to Alexander Zverev on his ATP Finals debut in Turin.
The 20-year-old missed last year’s event through injury and his shaky late-season form continued with a 6-7 (3) 6-3 6-4 loss in his opening round-robin match.
Alcaraz came from a break down to win the first set on a tie-break, but immediately fell behind in the second and it was Zverev who was the steadier from there on in a contest that featured some spectacular shots from both players.
The loss was a third in a row for Alcaraz, who was beaten by Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round of the Shanghai Masters before a shock defeat to Roman Safiullin in his first match at the Paris Masters.
Zverev, a two-time former champion at the event, has surged back into form over the second half of the season following the ankle injury at the French Open last year that ruled him out for seven months.
He suffered a worrying moment in the third set when he went over on his ankle, but he played down any concerns afterwards, and said on Amazon Prime Video: “It’s always nice to beat the best players in the world and he’s definitely one of them. It’s special to win on this court again.”
Medvedev cruises past Rublev in Red Group
Daniil Medvedev swept past Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-2 at their ATP Finals clash in the Red Group.
Russian friends Medvedev and Rublev were destined for another epic showdown after meeting in the Dubai Open final and US Open quarter-finals, with world number three Medvedev winning both matches.
However, Rublev, ranked fifth in the world, began to despair after losing the first set and failing to put up much of a fight in the second.
“I played great before the tournament and I managed to put it in the court now. I felt really good and was able to get the upper hand fast,” said Medvedev of his winning start.
“I like to played aggressive on my serve, but Rublev plays in such a style that he doesn’t let me (have) any other option because I don’t have the power of Alcaraz or (Stefanos) Tsitsipas on my forehand,” he added.
Earlier, Britain’s Neal Skupski made a winning start to his campaign in the doubles with Dutch partner Wesley Koolhof.
The Wimbledon champions are playing in their final tournament together after Koolhof chose to end the hugely successful partnership.
They will look to go out on a high and comfortably defeated Australian duo Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler 6-3 6-4.