Nalbandian Knocks Out Nadal Again

by John on November 5, 2007

The field for Shanghai is set and the hottest tennis player player in the world at the moment is left out. David Nalbandian won his second Masters title in two weeks yesterday, shellacking No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-0 in the final of the Paris Masters. The victory will push Nalbandian to No. 9 in the ATP rankings, one position short of qualifying for the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai starting Nov. 11. Nalbandian will make the trip to China, though, as the first alternate. “All week I was playing great, and I don’t know why the result was so easy,” said Nalbandian. “After I broke him, I felt that I was playing better than him. I play more relaxed, start hitting winners almost from everywhere. That gave me confidence.” On Thursday, Nalbandian defeated No. 1 Roger Federer 6-4, 7-6 in the third round. Two weeks ago Nalbandian beat Nadal 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters enroute to taking out Federer 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final. The Argentine also dumped No. 3 Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-2 in the semifinals in that tournament. Before Madrid, Nalbandian had reached only one quarterfinal in 15 tournaments this season. The Argentine said he was hampered by knee and back injuries for nearly six months. Nalbandian’s surge is truly remarkable. It certainly has caught Nadal and Federer’s attention. “I had a big problem: Nalbandian,” said Nadal in Paris. “Today I played against the one who is playing better than me and than the rest of the players, too.” The second set of Sunday’s match lasted just 27 minutes. The three-time French Open champion won only 17 percent of his second-serve points and had five winners to Nalbandian’s 25. “He’s the best returner in the world,” said Nadal. “With the second serve, it’s very difficult.” Said Federer of the Argentine, “He’s got a phenomenal backhand and can dictate play from both side.” It could be very interesting if one of the final eight in Shanghai gets sick or injured allowing Nalbandian into the draw.

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