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Nishikori wins opener in Monaco

Kyodo, AP

World No. 17 Kei Nishikori got off to a winning start at the Monte-Carlo Masters on Wednesday, defeating clay court specialist Albert Ramos of Spain in straight sets in a rain-interrupted first-round match.

The 12th-seeded Japanese dictated the baseline and capitalized on a slew of errors by 42nd-ranked Ramos to take the first set, and after rain temporarily halted play in an entertaining second set, wrapped up a 6-2, 7-5 win.

“I made a very aggressive start,” said the 22-year-old Nishikori. “It’s not easy to win on clay courts. You have to be more physical. I think I need to gain a lot more experience on clay.”

Nishikori will take on Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in the second round.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated his 27th birthday by saving all six breakpoints in a 6-2, 6-4 win against Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the third round and Andy Murray started his clay-court season in style by beating Viktor Troicki 6-0, 6-3.