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Nishikori beats Dodig to start Japan Open

TOKYO (AP) — In his first match at home since playing in the U.S. Open final, Kei Nishikori gave the sell-out crowd in Ariake Colosseum their money’s worth with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig of Croatia on Wednesday.

The first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam final added to his popularity by winning his third ATP title of the year in Kuala Lumpur last week. In his first-round match in Tokyo, Nishikori faced only one break point, and progressed to a match against Donald Young of the United States.

“I felt more pressure in New York, it was my first Grand Slam final,” Nishikori said. “Here, I could really feel the support.”

Gilles Simon of France scraped into the quarterfinals when came from 6-4, 4-2 down to beat Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-3. Simon, who saved six match points in the first round, lined up Steve Johnson of the United States.

The American had his own struggles in beating Marcel Granollers of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Another American, Jack Sock, saved two match points in edging Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, and local wild card Tatsuma Ito, who took out Stan Wawrinka, fell to Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-3, 6-3.

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