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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday, August 26, 2014

 
Kei Nishikori

After a month-long layoff, Kei Nishikori got his US Open underway with a strong win over Wayne Odesnik.

Photo Source: Getty

Kei Nishikori had to pull out of both pre-US Open Masters 1000 events this summer due to a small procedure on his right foot. He had a cyst removed, and told reporters that he hasn’t had much time to practice heading into this year’s US Open, but after a straight-sets win over Wayne Odesnik on Day 2, it doesn’t seem that outlandish to think that Nishikori could be a dark horse in this year’s draw.



“I just started playing points couple of days ago,” Nishikori said. “Still I was playing almost same level as usual. Couple of things have to work on still but, you know, happy to win today.”

Nishikori, considered a lethal hard court player with potential to be one of the game’s elite, has had trouble trying to cash in on his promise due to injuries in the past. It happened again this year, as the Japanese No. 1 showed signs of a major rise in level when he pushed Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, upset Roger Federer in Miami, and nearly defeated Rafael Nadal on red clay in the Madrid final (after taking out David Ferrer the day before).

But an injury to his hip helped cause a first-round defeat at Roland Garros, and despite reaching the fourth-round at Wimbledon, the foot injury once again derailed the 24-year-old’s season.

Still, with a favorable draw, Nishikori does appear to have a chance to surpass his career-best fourth-round performance (2008) at the US Open this year. But Nishikori, who became the first Japanese player to ever hold a top ten ranking this May, is content to take it match by match.

“I had injury and it's first tournaments of my coming back, so actually I don't hope for any, you know, good result,” Nishikori said. “But, you know, I try to play one match at a time. Another one, tough one, next. Pablo Andujar. So play one match at a time.”

 

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