• Nishikori, Dent advance to second round of SAP Open

    2/10/09 7:38 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nishikori, Dent advance to second round of SAP Open Kei Nishikori and Taylor posted wins in the San Jose first round on Monday. Nishikori overcame Gilles Muller and Taylor Dent ousted Bobby Reynolds. Florent Serra also advanced.

    Taylor Dent d. Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-4

    Dent was in control the whole way against Reynolds on Monday afternoon, and Reynolds did well just to make it as close as the scoreline reads. It has to be an encouraging performance for Dent, who is down at 662nd in the world rankings after briefly retiring from tennis due to a recurring back injury. The 27-year-old now has two ATP match wins already in 2009, having also scored a victory over Steve Darcis in Brisbane. This one was never really in doubt. Dent had plenty of chances to break serve in the early stages of the match and he finally broke at 3-3 before serving out the first set with no trouble whatsoever. More of the same continued in the second frame of play, as Dent dominated on serve while using one break to take a 5-4 advantage. With his opponent serving for the match, Reynolds finally got a look at his first two break points of the day. But Dent saved them both and went on to hold serve for a tenth straight time, finishing the proceedings in one hour and nine minutes. Dent, who finished with nine aces to just one double-fault, will meet another fellow American--either Todd Widom or No. 8 seed Robby Ginepri--in the second round.

    Florent Serra d. Jarkko Nieminen 7-5, 6-7(1), 6-4

    Serra improved his career record against Nieminen to 3-0 on Monday with a three-set victory that took two hours and 15 minutes to complete. It was competitive right from the start, with the two contestants exchanging one break of serve each as the opening set progressed to 5-5. Serra held for 6-5 and his second break of the day gave him a one-set advantage. One break of serve for each player took set two to a tiebreaker, which Nieminen dominated seven points to one. Despite having momentum in hand, the Finn failed to prevent the back-and-forth affair swinging over in favor of his opponent. Serra broke serve in the first game of the final set to regain the lead. Both men's serves really deteriorated in the third and two more breaks--one each--eventually gave Serra an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-4, which he successfully did to book a spot in the second round. He overcame 10 Nieminen aces, while firing eight aces of his own en route to his fourth ATP match victory of the season. Next up for the 57th-ranked Frenchman is either Vince Spadea or No. 3 seed James Blake.

    Kei Nishikori d. Gilles Muller 7-5, 6-2

    Muller got off to an inauspicious start, and although things briefly improved for him, he never really recovered. The Luxembourgian, who reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 2008 and the third round of the Australian Open last month, dropped the opening game of the match on his own serve. Nishikori, however, gave it right back in the very next game. Both men then took care of their service games until 5-5, when Nishikori's second break of the night proved to be decisive. The 19-year-old Japanese sensation held serve for 7-5 and ran away with the match after that. Nishikori broke Muller at 1-1 in the second and sprinted to a 7-5, 6-2 victory, booking his place in the SAP Open second round after one hour and three minutes. Nishikori could face No. 2 seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round. It was Del Potro who ended Nishikori's run to the fourth round of the 2008 U.S. Open.

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