Friday 24 November 2017

Tennis: Nadal starts defence of Japan Open with straight set win over wild card

WORLD number two Rafael Nadal made a comfortable start to the defence of his Japan Open title with a straight-sets win over local wild-card Go Soeda in Tokyo today.

Top seed Nadal, who is seeking his 47th career title this week, forced four breaks of the world number 118's serve on his way to a 6-3 6-2 win in 91 minutes.

Next up for the Spaniard is a second-round encounter with Canada's Milos Raonic, who defeated Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 7-6 (7/1).

Third seed David Ferrer brutally dashed home hopes as he dispatched Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

Nishikori, the Japanese number one, was never at his best and conceded 10 break points, of which 2007 champion Ferrer converted four on his way to a 6-4 6-3 triumph.

Bernard Tomic provided the surprise of the day as he saw off Serbian fifth seed Viktor Troicki 7-6 (8/6) 7-6 (7/1). Next up for the Australian is a clash with Japanese wild-card Tatsuma Ito, who beat Israel's Dudi Sela 6-4 3-6 6-3.

David Nalbandian opened his account with a brisk 6-1 6-1 dismissal of Lukas Rosol in just 49 minutes.

The Argentinian is still seeking his best form after leg surgery earlier this year, and said: "It was a very good first round. I feel that every day I'm getting better, so I'm happy with the play today."

Ivan Dodig awaits Nalbandian in round two after the Croatian served up a shock by defeating Argentinian eighth seed Juan Monaco 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7/1).

Ernests Gulbis also progressed with a three-set win over Poland's Lukasz Kubot, the Latvian emerging with a 6-3 3-6 7-5 victory in two hours and 30 minutes.

Next up for the world number 49 is American fourth seed Mardy Fish, who saw off compatriot Ryan Harrison yesterday.

There were also first-round wins today for Santiago Giraldo and Alex Bogomolov.

Britain's Andy Murray is the second seed in Tokyo and opens his account against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus tomorrow.

Press Association

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