Kei Nishikori saw off Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 7-6 on Monday evening to reach the second round of Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in his first win since 2019 US Open.

Nishikori reached the third round then but since then has been working his way back from right elbow surgery. He needed six match points to see off the Spaniard but was pleased to win through.

“Very happy to win. I think winning is most important for now. I need to get a lot of confidence. It’s been a long time since the US Open last year,” Nishikori said on court after his victory. “Happy to go through. It wasn’t maybe perfect yet, but hopefully one by one I’ll get better.”

“I tried to be aggressive when I could. He hits a lot of topspin balls, so it’s not easy,” continued Nishikori, who has never lost his opening match in Rome. “But I tried to have good defence and good offence.”

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Author: Samuel Gill