Nishikori through to second round after Almagro thrashing

Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:42pm EST
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Kei Nishikori stormed into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday with a 6-4 7-6(1) 6-2 demolition of hard-hitting Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.

The fifth seeded Japanese, rated a strong contender to capture his maiden grand slam this year after a breakout 2014, broke Almagro six times and sealed the match with a big serve in just over two hours.

The U.S. Open finalist's victory avenged his loss to the Spaniard in the quarter-finals of his home tournament in Tokyo in 2013.

Nishikori will play the winner of Brazil's Joao Souza and Croatian Ivan Dodig.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Kei Nishikori of Japan hits a return to Nicolas Almagro of Spain during their men's singles first round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 20, 2015.  REUTERS/Issei Kato