WASHINGTON (AP) — Japan’s Kei Nishikori won his opening match on the pre-U.S. Open hard-court circuit, beating Sam Querrey 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the Citi Open’s second round Wednesday.
The fourth-seeded Nishikori, who received a first-round bye, was playing for the first time since losing in Wimbledon’s fourth round on July 1.
“I had some rough points … and I knew that was coming,” said Nishikori, whose next opponent in Washington is Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.
Nishikori said he could tell Querrey was “trying to be a little more aggressive” than usual, hitting big on backhands in addition to serves and forehands.
But Nishikori said he was able to end his three-match losing streak against Querrey by staying “steady from the baseline” and working to “concentrate my service game.”
Nishikori is currently ranked 11th. Earlier this year, he became the first Japanese man to crack the top 10, rising as high as No. 9.
Two seeded men lost when Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic beat No. 8 Feliciano Lopez of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-4, and Donald Young of the United States eliminated No. 17 Julien Benneteau of France 6-4, 6-3.
In women’s action, Kristina Mladenovic of France beat American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-4, and Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan stopped playing against Kurumi Nara of Japan because of a right elbow injury.