Nishikori advances to Kuala Lumpur quarterfinals

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Kei Nishikori won his first match since falling in the U.S. Open final. (AP Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP)—Top-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Rajeev Ram of the United States 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open on Wednesday.

Nishikori, in his first match since reaching the final of the U.S. Open, broke the unseeded Ram four times to set up a quarterfinal clash with Marinko Matosevic of Australia, who beat Go Soeda of Japan 7-6 (5), 6-4.

“Physically, I am almost perfect I think," Nishikori said. “It was a good first match for me, everything worked well. I had a really tough five-setter in Australia this year with (Matosevic). He's a good player, always a dangerous player. I'll try to have a good practice tomorrow and be ready for the next one.”

Fifth-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay rallied from a set down to pass Ivan Dodig of Croatia, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5. Cuevas will play fourth-seeded Julien Benneteau for a place in the semifinals.

Defending champion Joao Sousa of Portugal was eliminated in the first round by Benjamin Becker of Germany 7-6 (1), 6-2, and Michal Przysiezny of Poland beat Malek Jaziri of Tunisia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

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