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Nishikori Closes In On Federer Clash; Raonic Advances

Madrid, Spain

Nishikori© Getty ImagesKei Nishikori could face Roger Federer in the third round in Madrid.

Japanese No. 14 seed Kei Nishikori closed in on a potential third-round meeting with Roger Federer after beating Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-2 on Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 23-year-old Nishikori, who lost his one previous meeting with Federer two years ago, claimed his 16th win of the season in 62 minutes as he converted all three of his break points.

Canada’s Milos Raonic came through a tricky opener, defeating former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko 7-5, 7-6(5) in one hour and 39 minutes. The 12th seed did not drop serve, saving both break points he faced to earn a second-round meeting with Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. The 22-year-old Raonic is coming off a semi-final showing in Barcelona (l. to Nadal) and will hope to beat Verdasco on clay for the first time in three attempts.

Looking ahead to the match, Raonic said, "I've just got to clean up crucial mistakes, take care of my serve, create a couple of opportunities on his serve and make the most of them."

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World No. 27 Kevin Anderson produced a dominant serving display as he defeated Canadian qualifier Jesse Levine 6-2, 6-2. The South African, a two-time finalist on the ATP World Tour this year, including on clay in Casablanca (l. to Robredo), fired 11 aces and lost only five points on serve as he prevailed in 53 minutes.

Fourth seed and last week’s Portugal Open runner-up David Ferrer will open his campaign against Denis Istomin after the Uzbekistani defeated Belgian qualifier Xavier Malisse 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes. Istomin beat Ferrer in their last meeting, a year ago, in at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver ended a five-match losing streak with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Feliciano Lopez in an all-Spanish meeting. Gimeno-Traver will next play No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet. The Spaniard is 2-13 against Top 10 players, with his two wins coming on clay.

Marrero/Verdasco Set Spanish Showdown
Spain's David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco will clash with second-seeded countrymen Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in the second round following their 6-1, 6-4 victory against Florian Mayer and Andreas Seppi

In other first-round action, Julian Knowle and Filip Polasek defeated Daniele Bracciali and Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6(5), while Jeremy Chardy and Lukasz Kubot beat Marcelo Melo and Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(6), 6-4.

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