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Nishikori Makes Winning Return In New York

New York, U.S.A.

Nishikori© Getty ImagesKei Nishikori made a winning return from injury.

Kei Nishikori made a winning return from the toe injury that forced him out of Toronto and Cincinnati Tuesday at the US Open, advancing to the second round with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Wayne Odesnik at Flushing Meadows.

The 10th-seeded Japanese player hit 37 winners, to 13 from Odesnik, and converted six of his 16 break points to prevail in just over two hours. It was the 24-year-old Nishikori’s first match since reaching the Citi Open quarter-finals in Washington (l. to Gasquet).

"I'm very happy," said Nishikori. "I was playing really well, an almost perfect game. [There are a] couple of things I have to work on still, but I'm happy to win today. It's not easy the first match after injury. I know how important this tournament is, and so hopefully I can go farther this week."

Nishikori achieved his best Grand Slam result with a quarter-final showing at the 2012 Australian Open (l. to Murray), and became the first Japanese player to crack the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings earlier this year after reaching the final of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid (l. to Nadal).

Nishikori goes on to face Pablo Andujar, who was leading 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 when Jack Sock was forced to retire from their match with a right calf injury.

"There was a ball late in the second set where I slid out like I usually do and just felt a little strain in my calf, outside of my right calf," explained Sock. "Just hindered my play and I wasn't able to go 100 per cent, so decided to stop. It sucks, because obviously it's my favourite tournament of the year and I wasn't able to finish the match. Hopefully I can get it better for doubles."

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Sam Querrey ensured American cheer as he battled to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Maximo Gonzalez in just under three hours. The 26-year-old Querrey came into the US Open on the back of his third semi-final of the year in Winston-Salem (l. to Janowicz). He next will face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who defeated Yen-Hsun Lu 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

"First rounds can always be tough," said Querrey. "Maximo played great, I thought. It was really hot out there today. It was a physical match. When I got the break in the fifth, I was just kind of saving my energy for my service games. I'm feeling it a little bit now. It feels good to get through that, and I'm hoping to just play better as I go on."

Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 17 seed, also needed five sets to get through his opening match, prevailing against Andreas Haider-Maurer 5-7, 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. Fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the No. 28 seed, enjoyed a more straightforward win against Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu, advancing 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

Argentine Federico Delbonis dealt a blow to 18-year-old Noah Rubin, defeating the American Wimbledon junior champion 6-4, 6-3, 6-0. 

Ivo Karlovic fired 24 aces as he defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes. The Croatian set a second-round clash with Marcel Granollers, who dismissed Jurgen Melzer 7-6(1), 6-3, 6-2. Elsewhere, 15th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini cruised past Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

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