Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori went the distance Sunday to book a third-round berth at the ATP Indian Wells Masters with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/4) victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino.
Mannarino, ranked 52nd in the world, served for the match at 6-5 in the third but never mustered a match point.
He double-faulted on the third break point of the game and that was enough of a window for Nishikori, who is back in the California desert after missing last year’s tournament because of illness.
That was part of a slow start to 2018 as Nishikori returned from a wrist injury, But he’s up to seventh in the world after opening 2019 with a title in Brisbane in January.
He reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open but retired against eventual champion Novak Djokovic with a quadriceps strain.
Nishikori has since reached the Rotterdam semi-finals, but was bundled out of the second round in Dubai last month.
He could get another Frenchman in the third round, when he will face either 30th-seeded Lucas Pouille or 67th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.