MADRID – Kei Nishikori, who is bidding for his second consecutive tour title, defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia in straight sets in the first round of the Madrid Open on Monday.
The world No. 12 Nishikori downed Dodig 6-4, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round on the clay surface in Madrid.
“I played well at crucial points,” said Nishikori. “Overall, there wasn’t anything bad about how I played. My play is improving on clay as well.”
The 10th-seeded Nishikori, who was sidelined for nearly one month with a left groin injury, won his second title of the season and fifth overall in his return at the Barcelona Open in late April.