The dry ice drifted around his feet, the music swelled, the crowd cheered and Roger Federer declared:

"Tonight, Matthew, I going to be the Greatest Tennis Player of All Time."

It was not quite like that at the O2 Arena in London last night, but it was close. Federer emerged from the manufactured mist to the sort of roar normally the preserve of a football stadium.

Roger was back and his public was delighted. A Federer session at the 02 carries more than a whiff of a religious meeting where the Cult of the Chap with the Bandana is celebrated in flag and chant. The banal incantation of Let's Go Roger, Let's Go gains some credence as a matter of encouragement when the God of Grass and Synthetic Surface takes just 25 minutes to win a set against Milos Raonic, ranked the eight best player in the world and who comes with a serve so powerful it is displayed at arms shows.

The record will show that Federer, at his 13th tour finals, defeated Raonic 6-1, 7-6 (0) in an hour and 28 minutes. But the glory of the 33-year-old Swiss player can only be properly gauged by the eye.

He dismantled Raonic in the first set, breaking his serve at the first opportunity and rendering the 23-year-old Canadian helpless in his debut at the finals. The second set took more than an hour, possibly because Federer wanted to reward the faithful with an extended service. He dismissed Raonic in the tie break with the sort of ease that is the preserve of cats in a contest with a trapped mouse with a dead leg.

The Canadian did have his chances. Federer graciously offered him four break points in the match but Raonic, possibly in awe of the winner of 17 grand slams, declined them all. Federer grabbed the two offered him in the first set and then breezed through the tiebreak.

The crowd loudly hailed his omnipotence. There will be further services tomorrow and on Thursday when the Lord of the Racket plays Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray respectively. Next up for Murray is for Raonic at 8pm tomorrow night.