David Nalbandian won his first ATP tournament on home soil yesterday, defeating fellow Argentine Jose Acasuso 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the Copa Telmex final in Buenos Aires. The title was the eighth of Nalbandian’s career and third in his last five tournaments. The 26-year-old improved to 8-1 on the season, suffering his only loss in the third round of the Australian Open. “It’s special to win a title in my home country with the support of the crowd and I am extremely happy for that,” Nalbandian said. “If I have to give myself a grade for the week I would say eight for the fighting spirit and winning attitude I had all week.” The win continued a string of success for the Argentine which began late last season. Nalbandian won Masters Series titles in Madrid and Paris to finish the 2007 campaign and barely missed qualifying for the Masters Cup in Shanghai. Nalbandian, ranked No. 9 at year’s end, was clearly the hottest player on tour last November. At Madrid, Nalbandian defeated Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in succession for the championship. Two weeks later in Paris, the Argentine shellacked Nadal 6-4, 6-0 in the final after dispatching Federer 6-4, 7-6 in the 3rd round. “He’s the best returner in the world,” a stunned Nadal said afterward. Nalbandian had a 5-1 record against the world’s top three last year (2-0 against both Federer and Nadal and 1-1 versus Djokovic). Always a thorn in Federer’s side, Nalbandian evened his career mark to 8-8 against the Swiss Maestro. The Argentine, supremely gifted but often accused of lacking commitment, had hoped to begin 2008 like gangbusters, however he tweaked his back practicing for a warm-up exhibition event prior to the Australian Open. A sub par Nalbandian lost to Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets in Melbourne. The Argentine, a Wimbledon finalist in 2002, reached a career-high No. 3 ranking in March 2006. With the win in Buenos Aires, Nalbandian improved to No. 8 in the ATP rankings.
Nalbandian Back on Track With Win in Buenos Aires
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