Nishikori begins title defense in Memphis


The Sports Network

Memphis, TN ( - Top seed and defending champion Kei Nishikori highlighted the second-round winners Wednesday at the U.S. National Indoor Championships.

The Japanese No. 1 topped German Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-4 at The Racquet Club of Memphis. Nishikori beat this week's second seed, Feliciano Lopez, in last year's Memphis finale.

Also in the second round on Wednesday, 35-year-old journeyman Michael Russell tackled fellow American Tim Smyczek 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), capable American Jack Sock whipped Czech Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-1 and Russian Alex Bogomolov, Jr. outlasted American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

The first round concluded Wednesday when qualifier Denis Kudla crushed fellow American Donald Young 6-1, 6-1.

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