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MELBOURNE, Australia – Kei Nishikori saved most of his energy for the business end of his first-round match Tuesday to beat Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 at the torridly hot Australian Open.
The 16th-seeded Nishikori won four straight points on Matosevic's serve to take a 2-0 lead in the final set as temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
He also saved three break points in the fifth game of deciding set that would have put the players back on serve.
Nishikori, who won the Kooyong exhibition tournament last week, had treatment for blisters on his left foot during a short medical timeout in the third set.
He will play qualifier Dusan Lajovic of Serbia in the second round.