36 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Brisbane, Australia (Sports Network) - Rising Japanese star Kei Nishikori highlighted Monday's opening-round winners, as the 2013 ATP World Tour season kicked off at the Brisbane International tennis event.

The fifth-seeded Nishikori, who turned 23 on Saturday, handled top Aussie Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 6-2 on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.

Also on Day 1, sixth-seeded German Florian Mayer topped Colombian Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 6-4, Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis beat Aussie wild card Benjamin Mitchell 6-4, 6-4, and Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen held off Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. Nieminen was a finalist here in 2008.

On Tuesday, wild card and Aussie hero Lleyton Hewitt will meet Czech veteran Radek Stepanek, the 2009 Brisbane titlist and 2010 runner-up.

This tournament serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open, which will commence January 14. U.S. Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray beat Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in last year's finale. Murray is this week's top seed.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wusa9.com/1kbY8Ri