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Nishikori rallies to beat Opelka in Dubai

Dubai Duty Free Tennis - Day Eight

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 14: Kei Nishikori of Japan plays a forehand shot during their Round of 32 match against Reilly Opelka of USA during Day Eight of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 14, 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Kei Nishikori came back from a set down to beat Reilly Opelka in the first round of the Dubai Championships, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired from his match.

Nishikori won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a second-round match with David Goffin. The Japanese player faced only one break point, which cost him the first set, and didn’t give Opelka a chance to break after that.

Nishikori is trying to rebuild his form after the coronavirus pandemic and recovery from elbow surgery restricted him to just four tournaments in 2020.

Tsonga was 3-3 in the first set with Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri when the French player retired. It was another setback for Tsonga after he picked up his first tour match win since 2019 in Marseille following an injury-hit 2020.

Surprise Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev reached the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Egor Gerasimov after recovering from 2-0 down in the second set. Karatsev plays Dan Evans next.