Madrid, Spain (4E Sports) – Tenth seed Kei Nishikori, who is eyeing to become the first Japanese to crack the ATP rankings top 10, opened his Madrid Open campaign with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig Monday.
“I started well,” said World No. 12 Nishikori. “I broke his serve in the first game. He’s not easy to play. He has a great serve and he comes to the net sometimes. But I played really well.”
In the second round, Nishikori will challenge wild card Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Meanwhile, ninth seed John Isner hit 14 aces as he defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili , 7-6(8), 6-4. Isner will next play Philipp Kohlschreiber or lucky loser Marinko Matosevic.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved to within two victories of the 300 match wins milestone (298-136) after beating Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, in two hours and 10 minutes.
Tsonga goes on to meet qualifier Santiago Giraldo, the recent Barcelona finalist, or former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt.
Dominic Thiem knocked out Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-2, to seal a second-round clash with Stanislas Wawrinka, who is seeking his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
Other winners were Mikhail Youzhny, Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco, Jarkko Nieminen, Albert Ramos, Marinko Matosevic and Marius Copil.
On the women’s side of the event, Australian Open champion Li Na and former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska were among the first-round winners.
Li downed Kirsten Flipkens, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7), while Radwanska beat Eugenie Bouchard, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, to advance to the next round.
In other matches, No. 4 Simona Halep downed Julia Goerges, 6-2, 6-0; former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur stunned No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova, 6-4, 6-0 and Caroline Wozniacki beat Ekaterina Makarova, 6-2, 6-2.
Other winners were Sabine Lisicki, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Irina-Camelia Begu and Svetlana Kuznetsova.