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Kei Nishikori works for opening win over Lucas Pouille in Halle

Kei Nishikori
Image: Kei Nishikori dropped the opening set against Lucas Pouille in Halle

Kei Nishikori fought back from a set down to defeat Lucas Pouille in the first round of the Gerry Weber Open.

The Japanese second seed made a sluggish start and appeared to be hampered by a shoulder problem, but still recovered well to seal a 6-7 6-1 6-4 win over Pouille in Halle.

In a hard-fought opening set, Nishikori broke back to level, only to gift a 1-0 lead to the Frenchman when his serve wavered in the closing two points of the tie-break.

Kei Nishikori
Image: The Japanese player required treatment on his shoulder in the second set

Nishikori, who has reached the semi-finals in the past two years, responded well to overpower Pouille in the second set, despite requiring medical treatment on his shoulder.

The decider was more closely contested until Nishikori gained a telling break in the seventh game and served out for victory.

Pouille also suffered an early exit in last week's Mercedes Cup on grass and was left to count the cost of 32 unforced errors.

Fifth seed David Goffin joined Nishikori in the next round after a tense 7-6 6-7 6-4 win over Croatian teenager Borna Coric.

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David Ferrer of Spain returns a shot to Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain during the Rio Open
Image: David Ferrer was beaten in straight sets by Andreas Seppi

But the sixth-seeded David Ferrer has already departed the tournament following a 6-3 6-4 defeat against Andreas Seppi.

Germany's Benjamin Becker pleased the home fans with a 7-5 6-3 win over Ernests Gulbis, while Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated Denis Kudla 7-5 4-6 6-3.

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