New York: Kei Nishikori erased the bitter memory of last year`s US Open first-round exit on Tuesday with a straight-sets win over Wayne Odesnik.
The 10th-seeded Japanese, who missed hardcourt Masters tournaments at Toronto and Cincinnati with a toe injury, was delighted with his 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 showing against the American.
"Very happy," he said. "I was playing really well, almost perfect game. Couple of things have to work on still, but happy to win today.
"It`s not easy, the first match after an injury," added the 24-year-old, who was playing his first match since a quarter-final exit at Washington.
Nishikori said he was largely untroubled by the injury, even though he fell a couple of times during the match.
"Otherwise, almost perfect," he said. "Didn`t affect my game. It`s been feeling really well."
Nishikori`s best Grand Slam result was his quarter-final appearance at the 2012 Australian Open.
This year he became the first Japanese player to break into the top 10 in the ATP world rankings after reaching the finals of the Madrid Masters.
Nishikori had to retire from the Madrid final against Rafael Nadal when the back injury which had required treatment throughout the week flared up.
While he`d dearly love to improve on his best prior US Open showing, a fourth-round appearance back in 2008, Nishikori said that coming off his latest injury, he couldn`t get ahead of himself.
"I had the injury, and it`s the first tournament of my coming back," he said. "I try to play one match at a time. Another tough one next -- Pablo Andujar."
Spain`s Andujar was leading Jack Sock 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 when the American retired from their match.