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Nishikori pulls out in first round

AUCKLAND (Kyodo) Rising Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori handed former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain an easy passage into the second round of the Heineken Open on Monday after he was forced to withdraw in the first set with an injury to his right arm.

Nishikori, who hurt the same arm during a straight-sets defeat to Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in the quarterfinals of last week’s Brisbane International, looked good in the first set but had to retire at 5-3 down.

“I made a good start but my arm started to hurt and I was unable to continue playing. The whole of my arm hurts,” said the 19-year-old Nishikori, who is hoping to recover in time for next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

“I leave for Melbourne tomorrow and will probably spend the whole day getting treatment,” added the world No. 59.