Andrey Rublev ignored his position as the Red group’s odd man out, with the only non-past champion at the ATP Finals dispensing a 6-7(9), 6-3, 7-6(7) defeat to former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev on Monday.
The win in two and a half hours was a struggle throughout, with the winner finishing it on a fifth match point at the Pala Alpitour.
Rublev took his time in getting started, missing out on seven break point chances in the opening set before earning his second win over Medvedev against four defeats.
But he reversed that kind of momentum with 25 winners in the second and third sets to win his opening match at the eight-man round robin tournament.
The contest ended on a 37-stroke final match point.
“You have to fight for every point, every game; I’m glad I was able to win,” Rublev said.
“The final tie-break, the rallies there were crazy. The last rally, we had I don’t know, 30 shots.
“I was cramping a bit already, but I was thinking ‘One more, one more..
“You have to keep playing. For sure he felt the same.
“You just have to keep playing if you have the chance, just go for it’. In the end I was able to win.”
The remainder of the Red group is made up of former year-end winners Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic. Medvedev won the last edition of the tournament played in London, in 2020.