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Nishikori defeats De Schepper in Wimbledon opening round

AFP-JIJI, Kyodo, AP

Tenth seed Kei Nishikori won through to the second round at Wimbledon on Tuesday with a straight-sets win over France’s Kenny De Schepper.

The 24-year-old, who has never been past the third round at the All England Club, won 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 in an hour and 49 minutes in front of dozens of appreciative Japanese fans on the Court 12 show court.

De Schepper took an early 3-0 lead in the tiebreak, but Nishikori clawed his way back with some inspired returns and passing shots. At 6-5, Nishikori capitalized on De Schepper’s poor drop volley and won the set with a simple backhand down center court.

Patience played a key factor once again in the third set. Nishikori struggled to attack de Schepper’s serve, but he broke through on the second of two match points with De Schepper missing wide off a Nishikori return.

The highest-ranked Japanese man in history blew his first match point but got another after De Schepper double-faulted, and then won it when the world No. 73 shot wide.

Though De Schepper hit 20 aces to Nishikori’s eight, the Japanese played a tidier match, making just nine unforced errors to the Frenchman’s 31.

Coached by 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, Nishikori has won at Barcelona and Memphis this year, the first time he has won multiple titles in a season.

Nishikori will face either Marsel Ilhan of Turkey or Denis Kudla of the United States in the second round.

France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made it through to the second round at Wimbledon after playing just one game of tennis.

Tsonga was leading Austria’s Jurgen Melzer 6-1, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 5-4 when rain stopped play late on Monday evening.

The 14th seed returned to Court One on Tuesday and played just four points, completing the sole game with an ace to finish the match.

The two-time Wimbledon semifinalist faces either Bradley Klahn or Sam Querrey, both of the United States, in the second round.

World No. 3 and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa.

Wawrinka, who has never got beyond the fourth round, tackles either Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun or Alexandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan for a place in the last 32.

Also Tuesday, third seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska reached the women’s second round with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Romania’s Andreea Mitu.

Radwanska, the 2012 runner-up, will face Casey Dellacqua of Australia for a place in the last 32.

Last year’s runner-up, Sabine Lisicki of Germany, advanced to the second round a with a 6-2 6-1 win in less than hour over Julia Glushko of Israel.

Lisicki was given the first match assignment on Centre Court usually reserved for the defending champion. But Marion Bartoli of France, who beat Lisicki in last year’s final, has retired and the honor fell to Lisicki.

The 19th-seeded Lisicki finished the match with a break of Glushko’s service on a net cord.

Before the match, Bartoli was part of a tribute to Elena Baltacha, the former British No. 1 who died of liver cancer on May 4 at the age of 30.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Japanese qualifier Tatsuma Ito plays lucky loser Simone Bolelli of Italy. Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, also a qualifier, plays Spanish 19th seed Feliciano Lopez.

In the women’s draw, Kurumi Nara faces a second-round clash with five-time champion Venus Williams on Wednesday.

Misaki Doi made it through to a round two clash with Russian 22nd seed Ekatarina Makarova, who knocked out Kimiko Date-Krumm.