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Nishikori, Robredo, Gulbis Make Winning Starts

Barcelona, Spain

Nishikori© Barcelona Open Banc SabadellKei Nishikori made a successful return to action.

Fourth seed Kei Nishikori made a successful return to action Tuesday as he reached the third round of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.

Nishikori, who has been sidelined with a groin injury since beating Roger Federer to reach the Miami semi-finals, won his opener in just under two hours, breaking serve seven times from 15 opportunities. He won his fourth ATP World Tour title earlier in the year in Memphis (d. Karlovic).

Nishikori goes on to face Andrey Golubev, who was leading 6-4, 5-1 when French No. 16 seed Benoit Paire was forced to retire.

Fifth seed Tommy Robredo cruised past Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-4 in 82 minutes to open his campaign. The Spaniard is looking to lift the trophy in Barcelona for the second time, having succeeded in 2004 (d. Gaudio). He also finished runner-up in 2006 (l. to Nadal).

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Ninth seed Ernests Gulbis edged wild card Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 7-6(1) in one hour and 37 minutes to open his campaign. The Latvian returned to winning ways after suffering opening-round losses in Miami (l. to Benneteau) and last week in Monte-Carlo, where he lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Marseille champion could play Dolgopolov again next, if the eighth seed beats Albert Montanes.

Tenth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber fired 10 aces and broke serve three times as he defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(4), 6-2 in 81 minutes in the second round. The 30-year-old German reached the semi-finals in Barcelona last year (l. to Almagro).

Albert Ramos will be tasked with attempting to end defending champion Rafael Nadal’s 39-match winning run in Barcelona. The Spaniard set the clash with World No. 1 Nadal after beating Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-4.

World No. 824 Inigo Cervantes notched just his third tour-level win as he upset 15th seed Dmitry Tursunov 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 in one hour and 43 minutes. The 24 year old could face second seed David Ferrer in the second round, if the Spaniard beats Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem fought from a set down to beat 14th-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and 15 minutes in the second round. The 20-year-old Thiem claimed his seventh win of the season and is currently at World No. 80 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, having started the year at No. 139.

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Jurgen Melzer will face seventh seed Jerzy Janowicz in the second round after battling past Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 29 minutes. Meanwhile, sixth seed Nicolas Almagro will face Martin Klizan, who beat Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-4.

Second Seeds Upset In Opener
Fabio Fognini and Jurgen Melzer teamed up for a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 upset victory over second seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the first round. Fognini and Melzer are playing together for the first time and go on to face Teymuraz Gabashvili and Mikhail Kukushkin for a place in the semi-finals after the Russian/Kazakh duo defeated Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos 7-5, 7-5.

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