World number 12, Novak Djokovic has progressed through to the second round of the Madrid Masters with a victory over Kei Nishikori.
The two stars now sit at 12th and 20th place respectively in the world rankings and had received byes through the opening round in previous stagings of the tournament.
Djokovic and Nishikori have also contested quarter-final and semi-final encounters in the past but in Monday’s first-round contest, it was the former world number one who prevailed by a 7-5 6-4 scoreline.
Four games both players would have liked to forget prompted an exchange of breaks in the middle of the opening set but Djokovic stepped up a gear at 5-4.
Nishikori resisted two rasping forehands but finally caved two games later as Djokovic clinched the set.
Djokovic seemingly defied physics by lashing one smash into the net early in the second but found his groove again at 5-4, breaking Nishikori to seal victory in just under two hours.
Djokovic will now play the winner of the match between British number Kyle Edmund and Daniil Medvedev.