Nishikori, Hrbaty, Lapentti reach Stockholm second round
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Wild card Kei Nishikori ousted Marcel Granollers in the first round of the Stockholm Open on Monday, overcoming a sore knee and a cold for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the eighth-seeded Spaniard.
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The Japanese teen will next play Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia, who beat Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-2, 6-1. In the other first-round match, Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador outlasted Ivan Navarro of Spain 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5.
The 18-year-old Nishikori was bothered by his right knee in the first set and requested treatment from a trainer early in the second.
"I've felt the pain for two days, I took a painkiller today but it didn't help," he said. "I was thinking about retiring more than 10 times I guess. ... I also have a cold. I'm not in my best condition."
In the second set, Nishikori broke the Spaniard on his second break point to lead 5-4 and then held on to even the match. Nishikori twice broke for a 3-0 lead in the third set and clinched the match when Granollers hit two consecutive forehands long.
Nishikori is playing the indoor tournament at the Royal Tennis Hall for the first time. He reached the third round at Tokyo last week to boost his ranking to a career-high 77. Hrbaty, who reached a career-high 12th in 2004, is currently 396th.
"I used to see him when I was little," Nishikori said. "I think I was 12 when he played in Japan. I think he's good on this [hard] court. I have to stay focused but I have to fix my knee first. I'm going to try to hit a little bit tomorrow."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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