Japan’s Kei Nishikori mounted a comeback to avoid first-round elimination at the Barcelona Open, defeating Guido Pella 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
Nishikori, the 39th-ranked player in the world who’s been ranked as high as No. 4, trailed in the second set 4-2 before winning three straight games and ultimately forcing a tiebreak. Nishikori saved 12 of 16 break points on the day en route to victory.
In the Round of 32, top-seeded Rafael Nadal draws qualifier Ilya Ivashka, who advanced Monday past Tallon Griekspoor, 6-3, 6-1, in just 57 minutes.
Fifth-seeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia outlasted Italy’s Stefano Travaglia, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in the opening round of the Serbia Open in Belgrade.
Neither player broke serve in the first set until Krajinovic took the winning game on his third set point. He went on to win despite Travaglia winning 71% of his first serves and saving 9 of 13 break points.
The only other seeded player in action Monday in Belgrade, seventh-seeded John Millman of Australia, eked out a close win over Serbian Danilo Petrovic, 7-5, 6-4. Marco Cecchinato of Italy swept Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, 6-1, 6-4, while the host nation had better luck with Nikola Milojevic, who advanced with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Federico Coria.
Belgrade native Novak Djokovic, the event’s top seed, will be in action later in the week.
–Field Level Media