Tennis: Miami OpenMar 24, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain has a forehand 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. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) - Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic made a strong return to competition on Friday, beating Viktor Troicki 6-3 7-5 to become the first player to reach the third round of the Miami Open.
The third seed has been sidelined by a right leg injury that forced him to concede a walkover in the Delray Beach Open final last month and withdraw from the Mexican Open and the 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 world number five Raonic.
Joining the Canadian into 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 towering South African Kevin Anderson 6-4 6-3.
Raonic breezed through his opening set and led 3-1 in the second before Serbia's Troicki, who has reached the fourth round in Miami twice, battled back.
World number 38 Troicki drew level at 5-5 before Raonic’s pressure helped him secure the deciding break.
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.
"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.”
In other early matches, 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.
Philipp Kohlschreiber prevailed in a two-and-a-half hour battle with 19-year-old American Taylor Fritz 7-5 3-6 7-6(4), roaring back from a 5-2 deficit in the third set.
The 31st-ranked German faces a tall test as he will try to reach the fourth round in Miami for the first time against 14-times grand slam winner Nadal.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Andrew Both)