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Tennis: Nishikori reaches 2nd round of French Open

Kei Nishikori of Japan plays against Quentin Halys of France in the first round of the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 26, 2019. Nishikori won 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. (Kyodo)

PARIS (Kyodo) -- Japan's Kei Nishikori weathered a third-set rally from France's Quentin Halys on Sunday to reach the second round of the French Open for the fifth year in a row.

The seventh-seeded Nishikori defeated the wildcard 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in just under two hours at Roland Garros to set up a match with either France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Germany's Peter Gojowczyk in the second Grand Slam of the year.

"I'm happy with my tennis," Nishikori said. "The third set wasn't so easy because my opponent got more aggressive, but little by little I got better."

In his first meeting with the 22-year-old Frenchman, Nishikori breezed through the first two sets as Halys committed 28 unforced errors. But the 29-year-old Japanese was forced to fight back from a 3-1 deficit in the third set, breaking back in the eighth game before decisively closing out the match.

"It was tough of course, it takes time to read someone's moves on the court," Nishikori said. "But between his many mistakes and my play going well, the first and second set went smoothly."

Nishikori, who has won two of his 12 titles on clay, reached the French Open quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017.

World No. 1 Naomi Osaka will meet Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round of the women's singles tournament on Tuesday.

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