ACAPULCO, MEXICO – Fourth seed Kei Nishikori advanced to the second round of the Mexico Open on Tuesday after Spanish opponent Albert Montanes retired from the match in the second set.
The world No. 17 spent 52 minutes on court in his Acapulco debut, holding a 6-2, 4-1 lead when 52nd-ranked Montanes, who has only recently returned to action from a hip injury, retired.
“I was playing aggressively as I knew my opponent was not 100 percent,” said Nishikori, who broke Montanes in the opening game and took control by forcing him into a number of errors with well-placed ground strokes.
“I wasn’t playing badly and that is why I was winning by this score. Last week I won two tough matches and that has given me confidence.”
Nishikori is playing in his second consecutive clay tournament. He reached the quarterfinals of last week’s Copa Claro in Buenos Aires before falling to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Nishikori normally plays on hard courts at this time of the year, but has chosen clay court events to better prepare for the French Open.
Federer, Murray through
Roger Federer brushed aside Michael Llodra 6-0, 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round of the Dubai Championships on Tuesday, while an error-prone Andy Murray needed three sets to beat German qualifier Michael Berrer.
Fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also survived a tight match against Marcos Baghdatis, beating the 46th-ranked Cypriot 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 to set up a second-round encounter with Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic. Juan Martin del Potro, who won the Open 13 in Marseille last week for his 10th career title, beat Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
Federer needed only 17 minutes to win the first set, dictating play on his serve and using a solid return game to break the Frenchman three times.