Kei Nishikori of Japan celebrates after beating Nicolas Almagro of Spain during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Rob Griffith
January 19, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Kei Nishikori returned to Grand Slam action for the first time since his run to the U.S. Open final, beating Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2 Tuesday in the first round of the Australian Open.

The fifth-seeded Nishikori dropped his opening service game but recovered the break quickly and weathered a difficult opening match against Almagro, who reached the quarterfinals in his previous visit to Melbourne Park in 2013.

Nishikori kept his unforced errors to 21 against Almagro, who ripped more winners - 40 to 30 - but also made 50 unforced errors.

After a breakthrough season, when he became the first Asian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final, Nishikori is determined to go one better and win a major.

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