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Kei Nishikori returns to the Australian Open with a win.

Nishikori Comes Back From Two Sets Down

Eighth seed looking to reach second Grand Slam final in Melbourne

For two sets on Tuesday, Poland's Kamil Majchrzak played the match of his life against Japan's Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open. The 23-year-old was blasting winners from the corners, withstanding Nishikori's aggressive style and, incredibly, the No. 176 player in the ATP Rankings was winning.

The Polish qualifier, in his Grand Slam debut, led the eighth seed 6-3, 7-6(6) and had fans inside Margaret Court Arena rooting for an upset.

But it turned quickly. He started cramping in his legs and in his hands. He stopped sprinting for balls and stopped winning games. Nishikori stayed focused, and, after nearly three hours, advanced 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-2, 3-0 when Majchrzak retired.

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The Brisbane International champion, who missed Melbourne last year because of a wrist injury, avoided his first opening-round exit at a Slam since the 2015 US Open (l. to Paire). Nishikori will next meet Croatia's Ivo Karlovic, who dismissed Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(5).

Italy's Fabio Fognini advanced courtesy of another first-round retirement. Spain's Jaume Munar, who reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, retired down 6-7(3), 6-7(7), 1-3.

Fognini, who won his first hard-court tour-level title last year in Los Cabos, hit 40 winners and saved eight of 10 break points against the 21-year-old Munar. Fognini will next play Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, who beat Chile's Nicolas Jarry 7-6(4), 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3.

Croatia's Borna Coric, who's knocking on the door of the Top 10, needed only two hours to dismiss Belgian Steve Darcis 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. The 11th seed saved all three break points and will next face Hungary's Marton Fucsovics, who beat Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3. Fucsovics is looking to back up his Australian Open fourth-round run of a year ago, when he fell to eventual champion Roger Federer.

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