NEWPORT BEACH, January 24, 2018
Former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori has returned to the courts for the first time since August. The 28-year-old from Japan, who ended last season after the ATP Masters in Montreal due to a wrist injury, lost in the opening round of the $150,000 Oracle Challenger Series at Newport Beach.
Nishikori, who made his first appearance at ATP Challenger level since 2010, fell to US-American qualifier Dennis Novikov 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Novikov fired 15 aces and broke the top seed four times to prevail after one hour and 47 minutes to face compatriot Reilly Opelka next.
✅ First Top 30 win
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) 23. Januar 2018
“It was good. Wrist was fine,” said Nishikori. “I just need more time, I guess, to get used to more matches. Very rusty on the court. Very up and down still. But I think there were some positive things and also some negative things too, but that’s something I have to work on a couple more weeks and I think it will get better.”
Nishikori has won five career ATP Challenger Tour titles, with four coming in the United States. His most recent victory was on the hard courts of Knoxville in 2010. He won his first ATP Challenger Tour title in 2008 at the age of 18 in Bermuda. That title helped him move inside the Top 100 for the first time. Nishikori is currently ranked No. 24 in the world.