MADRID – World No. 8 Kei Nishikori defeated 40th-ranked Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 to reach the third round of the Madrid Open on Wednesday.
Back after a month and a half out with a right wrist injury, the 27-year-old Japanese gave up the first set easily but roared back to take the second. The pair traded a break in the final set before Nishikori broke again to lead 5-3 with a well-placed forehand, but he wasted four match points in the next game as Schwartzman hung in.
Nishikori took three match points in the next game before he eventually sealed his second win in as many matchups over the 24-year-old Argentine with a backhand down the line.
“At the beginning I rushed things and wasn’t used to the (clay) court but I started to play well from the second set,” said Nishikori, who had 42 winners to Schwarzman’s 19.
“My wrist isn’t so bad, I didn’t have pain during the match. I don’t know how much I’ll have after this today so I’ll see how it goes but I put in a good display today and hope to continue so.”
Nishikori will next face David Ferrer, whose second-round opponent, 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, withdrew ahead of their match due to a right shoulder injury.