NEW YORK – Kei Nishikori overcame early struggles with unforced errors Saturday to advance to the third round of the Miami Open with a 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-4 win over Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene.
The 39th-ranked Nishikori, who beat Bedene in straight sets at last week's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, faced a much sterner challenge against the world No. 59 in Miami.
Picking up the pace in the third set, Nishikori closed out the match in 2 hours and 50 minutes to set up a third-round showdown with world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
"It was a pretty close battle (and) a tough match. My serve improved in the third set, which helped me get my return game going," Nishikori said.
Nishikori will aim to stay unbeaten against Tsitsipas, having won their only previous meeting in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Japan Open.
"I just need to play to my strengths," Nishikori said.
Former world No. 4 Nishikori is the 28th seed in Miami. The 31-year-old is trying to work his way back to the top 10 following an elbow operation in late 2019 that sidelined him for most of last year.
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