March 25, 2017 / 12:01 AM / 6 months ago

Raonic makes winning return, Nadal and Nishikori advance

Mar 24, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after his match against Dudi Sela of Israel (not pictured) on day four of the 2017 Miami Open at Brandon Park Tennis Center. Nadal won 6-3, 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic made a strong return to competition on Friday by beating Viktor Troicki 6-3 7-5 to reach the third round of the Miami Open.

Joining the Canadian in the third round were Spanish fifth seed Rafa Nadal and Japanese second seed Kei Nishikori.

Nadal advanced past Israeli Dudi Sela 6-3 6-4, taking the critical second-set break in the seventh game, while Nishikori cut down South African Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-3.

Third seed Raonic has been sidelined by a right leg injury that forced him to concede a walkover in the Delray Beach Open final last month and to withdraw from the Mexican Open and BNP Paribas Open.

“I have to be very happy with just the outcome, that I was able to get the win today, that I have another chance to play in two days,” said the world number five.

Raonic breezed through the opening set and led 3-1 in the second before Serbia’s Troicki battled back.

World number 38 Troicki, who has reached the fourth round in Miami twice, drew level at 5-5 before Raonic’s pressure helped him secure the deciding break.

Mar 24, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after his match against Dudi Sela of Israel (not pictured) on day four of the 2017 Miami Open at Brandon Park Tennis Center. Nadal won 6-3, 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Raonic advanced to play American Jared Donaldson, a 6-4 6-4 winner against 28th seed Mischa Zverev of Germany.

Raonic said he has been helped by the addition of former world number 69 Jesse Levine to his coaching support.

Mar 24, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Dudi Sela of Israel hits a backhand against Rafael Nadal of Spain (not pictured) on day four of the 2017 Miami Open at Brandon Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s somebody that I get along with great, is a little bit closer to my age as well, and somebody that I can play with on court and put in hard hours with,” he added.

A string of upsets unfolded later in the day with world number 13 Grigor Dimitrov eliminated in straight sets by Argentinean Guido Pella 6-3 7-6(4).

Dimitrov, who lost to Nadal in the Australian Open semi-final, has now lost three of his last six matches since winning the Sofia Open last month.

American Donald Young knocked out 11th seed Lucas Pouille 6-2 6-4, Federico Delbonis took down 15th seed Pablo Carreno 1-6 7-5 6-2, while Frenchman Gilles Simon fell to German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1 6-1.

In earlier action, Frenchman Jeremy Chardy defeated seventh-seeded former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia for the first time since 2009 to move into the third round with a 6-4 2-6 6-3 win.

Reporting by Larry Fine and Jahmal Corner; Editing by Andrew Both and Peter Rutherford

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