KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Kei Nishikori was beaten in his return to professional tennis on Tuesday after a one-year break, losing to Miomir Kecmanovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the Generali Open.
Following surgery on his right elbow in October, the Japanese player had to postpone his comeback last month after he was forced to pull out of the Cincinnati Masters and U.S. Open after testing positive for COVID-19.
Nishikori’s previous match was a third-round loss to Alex de Minaur at the 2019 U.S. Open. He jumped out to a 5-0 lead over Kecmanovic and later led 6-4, 4-4, but won only two of the next 10 games.
The 47th-ranked Kecmanovic has been a long-term regular training partner of Nishikori’s.
“It means a lot to me to win this match,” the Serbian said. “I have been playing with him since I was 13, so this is very special.”