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Kei Nishikori fights into the third round in New York.

Nishikori Overcomes Hiccup To Reach US Open Third Round

Dimitrov advances by walkover

Kei Nishikori survived a stern test from American Bradley Klahn to advance at the US Open on Wednesday.

The seventh seed came through a four-set battle on Louis Armstrong Stadium, prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 after two hours and 43 minutes. Nishikori kicked off Day 3 under the closed roof on Armstrong, as steady rain disrupted play throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

"He served really well today and I lost focus," said Nishikori. "I'm happy to win and I'm looking forward to play the next one. I lost serve at 5-1 and 5-3 [in the fourth] but got through. It's always fun playing in New York and I hope to keep playing good tennis."

Runner-up in New York in 2014, the Japanese star claimed his 25th match win at his most successful Grand Slam event. He also reached the semi-finals in his past two appearances, in both 2016 and 2018.

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It looked like Nishikori was going to sweep past Klahn with little resistence. But as soon as the Japanese sprinted to a set and a break lead, his American opponent answered right back. From 2-4 down in the second set, Klahn reeled off four straight games to suddenly draw level. He won 16 of the last 20 points in the set, punctuated by a backhand winner down the line.

Nishikori seized control once again in the third set and overcame a resilient Klahn in the fourth. The California native showed his mettle to break twice when the World No. 7 served for the match at 5-1 and 5-3, saving two match points, but it was the former finalist who would squeak past the finish line on his fifth opportunity.

"I think always there is a positive side if you play a long match. Of course it's better to win in straight sets in one or two hours. Today I learned couple things. Sometimes it's good to have a lot of tennis on the court and especially in the first couple rounds.

"I think today's match will help. There were some up-and-downs and I think I needed to play a lot of tennis, especially because I lost two first rounds in Cincinnati and Canada. I needed to have little more confidence. So I think it was good match today."

Nishikori, who entered the US Open on a three-match losing skid, earned consecutive wins for the first time since Wimbledon, where he reached the quarter-finals. He will next face either Cristian Garin or Alex de Minaur.

Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that Borna Coric would not take the court for his second-round meeting with Grigor Dimitrov. The 12th seed was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a lower back injury. Dimitrov will next face either Pablo Cuevas or lucky loser Kamil Majchrzak on Friday.

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