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Kei Nishikori wins in second round of Malaysian Open

Kei Nishikori avoided an upset in his first game since the US Open final by beating Rajeev Ram in the second round of the Malaysian Open.

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Top seed Nishikori became the first Asian male to reach a Grand Slam singles final in a sensational run at Flushing Meadow, but lost to Marin Cilic in New York.

The 24-year-old from Japan has now turned his attention to securing one of the eight places in the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London and started his bid for a third Tour title of the season in impressive fashion in Kuala Lumpur.

World number eight Nishikori saw off American Ram 6-2 6-3 in just an hour and four minutes on Wednesday to progress to the quarter-finals of the indoor hard-court event.

Nishikori broke Ram's serve on four occasions and saved the two break points that his opponent, ranked 150th in the world, produced in a comfortable victory.

Next up for Nishikori is a meeting with Marinko Matosevic after the Australian beat Go Soeda of Japan 7-5 (7-5) 6-4 to reach his sixth quarter-final of the season.

Matosevic conjured up six aces and broke five times en route to the last eight, but was made to work for his victory as he saved 12 break points.

Defending champion Joao Sousa suffered a 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 first-round defeat at the hands of Benjamin Becker.

Sixth seed Sousa secured the only ATP World Tour victory over his career in this event last year, but there will be no repeat this week after he could only win 54 per cent of points on his serve and paid the price.

Julien Benneteau, seeded fourth, is through to the last eight after seeing off Filip Krajinovic 6-4 6-3 in the final game of the day.

Fifth seed Pablo Cuevas had earlier fought back to reach his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season at the expense of Ivan Dodig, who was beaten 3-6 7-5 7-5.

Michal Przysiezny will face seventh seed Pablo Andujar in the second round after Pole beat Malek Jaziri 4-6 6-4 6-2.

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