Nalbandian Drubs Ram in Return to Tour

by John on August 3, 2010

David Nalbandian of Argentina began his second half of the season last night in Washington, D.C. The former world No. 3 defeated American Rajeev Ram 6-4, 6-0 in 52 minutes at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in his first ATP Tour match since a quarterfinal loss at Monte Carlo in April. Nalbandian underwent right hip surgery in May of last year and missed nine months, then suffered a torn right leg adductor muscle in his comeback event in Buenos Aires in February. The 2002 Wimbledon finalist returned in March to lead Argentina to an upset win over Sweden in the first round of the Davis Cup, played Indian Wells and Miami, and then, snakebit again, suffered a left-hamstring injury at Monte Carlo. Nalbandian missed the French Open and Wimbledon to facilitate a full recovery. The 28-year-old Argentine was back on the court in July, leading his country to another Davis Cup upset win in the quarterfinals against Russia. Nalbandian started slowly against Ram, unable to read the 6-foot-4 American’s serve, but broke at 3-3 to take control of the match. The Argentine made quick work of the second set, breaking three times while losing only eight points. “Since Davis Cup, I’m feeling a little better,” Nalbandian said. “I feel great. I need to play more matches, I feel fit. Results are going to come.” Nalbandian has actually performed remarkably well for someone who has played so sporadically this year. He’s beaten No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko and No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny (twice) and had No. 1 Rafael Nadal down a set and two break points to go up 3-2 in the second set at Miami before running out of gas. With the win over Ram, Nalbandian, now ranked No. 117, improved to 12-3 on the year. Next up for the Argentine is a second-round encounter tomorrow with No. 7 seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. “If I do well, everybody’s going to think I’m back,” Nalbandian said. “If I lose, they’ll say, ‘Still a long way to go.’ But that’s the way it is. I’m feeling good.”

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