Kei NIshikori showed a return to full fitness on Tuesday, with an opening win at the Madrid Masters a week after withdrawing from Estoril.
The 2014 finalist against Rafael Nadal in the Spanish capital was unable to play in Portugal after straining an abdominal muscle during training.
But Asia’s top player was back on song in his 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2 fightback over Russian Karen Khachanov.
“Today was good. I was surprised, too, because I couldn’t really practise last couple days,” Nishikori said after moving into a match with fifth seed Alexander Zverev, 2018 tournament champion.
“But it took a little while for me to play better again. I had four or five days of no tennis.
“Yesterday was the first time I played points, I’m happy that I had no pain today.”
Nishikori produced 24 winners during his fightback but could not prevail in the opening set despite a pair of set points.
He reversed the luck in the next two sets to run out the winner in two and a quarter hours.
Elsewhere In the opening round, Aussie John Millman set up a clash with Brit Dan Evans through his upset of 12th seed Hubert Hurkacz.
Millman saved three match points against the Miami winner to notch his 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-3 win in just under two and a half hours.
Main photo:- Kei Nishikori beating Karen Khachanov in Madrid – by Corinne Dubreuil ©ATPTour