The Latest: 2014 runner-up Nishikori avoids 1st-round exit
NEW YORK (AP) The Latest on the U.S. Open (all times local):
Rio Olympics bronze medalist and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori has avoided what would have been his fourth first-round exit in his past six appearances at Flushing Meadows.
Nishikori, who earned Japan's first Olympic tennis medal since 1920 a little more than two weeks ago, advanced in New York on Tuesday by beating Benjamin Becker 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
The sixth-seeded Nishikori reached his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open two years ago, losing to Marin Cilic at that stage. But he exited in the first round in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Becker, a German who won on NCAA singles title at Baylor University, has lost his past 15 matches against opponents ranked in the top 10.
Ana Ivanovic is out of the U.S. Open in the first round for the second straight year after a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic.
Ivanovic is a former No. 1 player and 2008 French Open winner who has slipped to No. 31 in the rankings.
The Serb was serving for the first set at 6-5 but struggled with her serve and faltered in the tiebreaker. She finished with seven double-faults and 41 unforced errors.
At the Open, she has reached the fourth round or better five times, including a career-best quarterfinal run in 2012.
The 89th-ranked Allertova improved to 7-1 in first-round matches in majors, making her second main-draw appearance at the Open.
Simona Halep gave herself ''less than 9'' for her quick work against Kirsten Flipkens, 6-0, 6-2, in the first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Romanian was ahead 6-0, 5-0 with countrywoman Nadia Comaneci cheering her on. Comaneci was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Halep says she wasn't perfect, but pleased with how she played against the Belgian. She got 69 percent of her first serves in and won 12 of 15 points at the net.
Halep, who reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open last year, will next face Lucie Safarova, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Daria Gavrilova.
Venus and Serena Williams are among the featured matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open.
Venus will take on Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine in the afternoon Tuesday before her top-ranked sister plays Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the night match at the stadium with the new retractable roof.
Serena has been bothered by a shoulder injury, playing only three matches since winning Wimbledon for her 22nd Grand Slam title. She faces a tough opening opponent in Makarova, who beat her at the 2012 Australian Open.
Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium and Simona Halep of Romania have started play on Ashe, followed by Fernando Verdasco of Spain against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.
Andy Murray of Britain will face Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic in the other evening match.