(Reuters) – Kei Nishikori returned to an ATP Tour level event for the first time since last August and cruised into the second round of the inaugural New York Open with a 7-5 6-3 win over American wild card Noah Rubin on Tuesday.
The Japanese fifth seed, fresh off winning a Challenger event in Dallas, trailed 3-0 in the first set but pulled level and then never looked back against Rubin, who was playing in front of his hometown crowd in Uniondale.
It marked the latest step forward for Nishikori, who last August suffered a severe right wrist injury that caused him to miss last year’s U.S. Open and the Australian Open at the start of this season.
The former U.S. Open finalist has since eased his way back to competition by playing in Challenger events, dropping a first-round clash in Newport Beach before his triumph in Dallas.
Next up for Nishikori in the tournament that moved from Tennessee to Long Island after four decades, will be a clash against Russian Evgeny Donskoy, a 7-5 6-1 winner over Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)