Tennis: Japan's Kei Nishikori eases into Barcelona 3rd round

BARCELONA (AFP) - Defending champion Kei Nishikori cruised into the third round of the Barcelona Open with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili on Tuesday.

The Japanese top seed was making his season debut on clay but was largely untroubled by the world number 85 as he broke early in each set and faced just one break point on his own serve before sealing victory.

Nishikori will face either Portugal's Joao Sousa or 15th seed Santiago Giraldo in the last 16 on Thursday.

Seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut and fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo also booked their places in round three with straight sets victories over Thomaz Belluci and Mikhail Kukushkin respectively.

Second seed Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a ninth title in Barcelona against Nicolas Almagro or Paolo Lorenzi on Wednesday.