Tenth seed Kei Nishikori needed 90 minutes to beat Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-4 on Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open.
"I started well," said Nishikori. "I broke his serve in the first game. He's not easy to play. He has a great serve and he comes to the net sometimes. But I played really well. There was just one bad game, on my serve at 3-2 in the second set. Otherwise, it was an almost perfect match.”
World No. 12 Nishikori is attempting to become the first Japanese man to crack the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. He won his first clay-court title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Giraldo) eight days ago and will next challenge wild card Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the Madrid second round.
Nishikori beat Roger Federer en route to last year’s quarter-finals (l. to Andujar). "[Beating Roger] was my best memory of last year,” said Nishikori. “I was very happy about that and I'm trying to do well here again this year."
Kei Nishikori serves against Ivan Dodig of Croatia in their first round match during day three of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 5, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.