PARIS – Kei Nishikori marked his return from injury with a win over France’s Benoit Paire in straight sets at the Paris Masters on Tuesday.
Fifteenth-seed Nishikori, who sat out last week’s Swiss Indoors with pain in his right ankle, defeated Paire 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 in the second round and will next face either Romanian Victor Hanescu or another Frenchman in Gilles Simon.
Nishikori had picked up the injury at the start of the month during his second-round defeat in Shanghai.
“I didn’t make any silly mistakes and played well throughout the match,” the 16th-ranked Nishikori said after knocking out world No. 44 Paire, who placed only 39 percent of his serves.
“The first set turned out to be difficult but I was able to take it up a notch after winning the tiebreak. I was able to play without any kind of pain today.”
Nishikori would have played Roger Federer in the third round of what is his last event of the season, but the Swiss top seed pulled out to save himself for next week’s ATP World Tour Finals in London.
“Even if my opponent has changed, it will still be a tough matchup,” he said. “I’ve got to stick to my style of tennis, and I hope I can go deep into the tournament here.”