TOKYO - Canadian Milos Raonic won the opening match in his comeback tournament Tuesday, earning a second-round date with top-seeded Rafael Nadal at the Japan Open.
Raonic beat Japanese wild card Yuichi Sugita 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (1) in his first ATP World Tour match since injuring his hip in a fall June 22 at Wimbledon.
Raonic, who lost a Davis Cup singles match in Israel last month, had surgery on the hip on July 5.
Nadal dispatched Go Soeda of Japan 6-3, 6-2 to advance.
"He (Raonic) is a dangerous player for me in the second round," Nadal said. "He has one of the biggest serves on the tour."
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., qualified and reached the second round here last year before losing 6-4, 6-4 to Nadal.
Nadal broke Soeda with a perfect lob to close out the first set and wrapped up the victory in one hour 30 minutes at Ariake Colosseum.
"I'm really happy with my serve," Nadal said. "The ball was a bit heavy. It was difficult for my top spin."
The 10-time Grand Slam champion got in 85 per cent of his first serves in the victory.
Third-seeded David Ferrer of Spain ousted Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 6-3 in another first-round match. The fifth-ranked Ferrer saved two break points in the final game of the second set, before converting his first match point.
He also saved to break points when level at 2-2 in the second set before breaking in the next game with a crosscourt forehand winner.
Ivan Dodig of Croatia also advanced by ousting eighth-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (1). Dodig saved a match point in his final service game of the third set before dominating the tiebreaker to clinch the victory in 2:42.
Dodig will take on David Nalbandian of Argentina, after the 2002 Wimbledon finalist routed Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1.
In earlier first-round action, Alex Bogomolov Jr. of the United States beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-4, 6-4.
Second-seeded Andy Murray of Britain will meet Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in a first-round match on Wednesday.