Kei Nishikori to have right elbow surgery

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Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, will have season-ending surgery on his right elbow and is aiming to be ready to go for the start of 2020.

Nishikori’s manager, Olivier van Lindonk, wrote in an email Monday that the right-hander from Japan will have a “small procedure removing two small bone spurs” in the elbow.

The procedure is scheduled for Tuesday. That means Nishikori will miss the Paris Masters indoor hard-court tournament next week and the Davis Cup Finals that begin in Madrid on Nov. 18.

Van Lindonk said the goal is for Nishikori to be able to begin his offseason training for 2020 at the start of December. The next Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, starts Jan. 20.

Nishikori has not competed since a third-round loss at the U.S. Open in September.

According to van Lindonk, Nishikori has struggled with irritation in his elbow since the French Open in May.

Despite that, Nishikori reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros before losing to 12-time champion Rafael Nadal, then followed that up by also reaching the round of eight at Wimbledon in July before losing there to eight-time champion Roger Federer.

“He has tried to heal this with rest,” van Lindonk wrote, mentioning five tournaments that Nishikori pulled out of because of the problematic elbow, and added: “But time has proven that rest & rehab was not enough.”

The 29-year-old Nishikori has been ranked as high as No. 4 and is currently No. 8. He closes 2019 with a 29-14 record and one title.

Nishikori and two-time Grand Slam title winner Naomi Osaka, who also plays for Japan, are expected to be two of the biggest stars at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He was the first man born in Asia to reach a major championship final when he was the runner-up to Marin Cilic at Flushing Meadows five years ago.

And at the U.S. Open a year ago, Nishikori and Osaka gave Japan a men’s semifinalist and a women’s semifinalist at the same Grand Slam tournament for the first time.

Shapovalov beats Johnson in straight sets at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Denis Shapovalov put up a near-perfect serving performance to beat Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (3) at the Japan Open.

The seventh-seeded Canadian conceded only one point on his first serve and had 11 aces. Shapovalov, who lost in the semifinals four years ago, will next take on Japanese qualifier Rio Noguchi for a place in the quarterfinals.

“(This was) definitely one of my best serving matches,” Shapovalov said. “I kind of felt like I needed to against Steve . I’m very happy with my serving performance today and hopefully I can keep it up throughout the week.”

Also, Miomir Kecmanovic came back to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2, and Kwon Soon-woo defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.