Tennis: Nishikori survives scare in Indian Wells opener

Nishikori in action against Adrian Mannarino of France.
Nishikori in action against Adrian Mannarino of France.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

INDIAN WELLS, United States (AFP) - Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori went the distance on Sunday (March 10) to book a third-round berth at the ATP Indian Wells Masters with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) victory over France's Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino, ranked 52nd in the world, served for the match at 6-5 in the third but never mustered a match point.

He double-faulted on the third break point of the game and that was enough of a window for Nishikori, who is back in the California desert after missing last year's tournament with a wrist injury.

Nishikori, ranked seventh in the world, opened his year by snapping a nine-match losing streak in finals, capturing his first ATP title in 51 tournaments at Brisbane in January.

He reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open but retired against eventual champion Novak Djokovic with a quadriceps strain.

Nishikori has since reached the Rotterdam semi-finals, but was bundled out of the second round in Dubai last month.

He could get another Frenchman in the third round, when he will face either 30th-seeded Lucas Pouille or 67th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.