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Nishikori's ATP comeback ends in first-round defeat; Monfils, Evans triumph in Miami Open

Posted : 22 March 2024

Kei Nishikori, the former world No. 4, made his comeback to the ATP Tour after a prolonged absence due to injury, only to face a disappointing first-round defeat of 6-3, 6-4 against Sebastian Ofner.


Nishikori, who has scarcely appeared on the tour over the past two years, with his previous ATP Tour match dating back to Atlanta in July, was granted a wildcard entry by the organizers.


Despite showing promise in practice sessions, Nishikori struggled to find his rhythm during the match against the 40th-ranked Austrian, attributing his difficulties to factors like windy conditions, Ofner's aggressive play, and the fast courts.


Expressing his disappointment, Nishikori highlighted the disparity between his practice performance and his actual match experience, acknowledging the challenges posed by the competitive environment.


At 34, Nishikori faces the daunting task of rebuilding his ranking, although he remains optimistic about his prospects for the future, emphasizing his primary goal of maintaining good health and gaining match practice.


While he refrains from setting specific targets at present, he aims to accumulate playing time to regain his competitive edge gradually.


In other matches, Gael Monfils, the 37-year-old French veteran, showcased his enduring skill and determination with a stylish 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over Serbian Dusan Lajovic, expressing his satisfaction with his performance and his ongoing passion for challenges.


Meanwhile, Dan Evans of Britain staged a remarkable comeback from a set down to defeat Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, displaying resilience and fighting spirit on the court.


In the WTA event, Caroline Wozniacki, who returned to professional tennis last year following a three-year hiatus due to motherhood, faced a tough three-set battle against Anhelina Kalinina, ultimately succumbing to a 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 defeat.


Elsewhere, Maria Sakkari of Greece continued her solid form by dispatching Yuan Yue 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the third round, overcoming her past struggles in Miami and demonstrating her growing consistency on the tour.


Additionally, ninth seed Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, encountered resistance from German qualifier Laura Siegemund but managed to secure a hard-fought 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory, signaling her determination to contend in the tournament.


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