Nalbandian Returns to Tour with a Win in Buenos Aires

by John on February 16, 2010

It took two days for David Nalbandian to win his first match back on tour after a nine-month absence due to hip surgery. The former World No. 3 defeated Italian Potito Starace 6-2, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Copa Telmex in Buenos Aires today to advance to a matchup with Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the next round. Nalbandian had hoped to return in January at the Heineken Open in Auckland, but suffered an abdominal tear warming up for his first match. The injury also short circuited the Argentine’s plans to compete in the Australian Open. Nalbandian won the first set last night just before heavy rain drenched the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club forcing postponement until today. The opening set featured a remarkable six breaks of serve on the red clay of the BALTC. Nalbandian held twice and broke twice to race to a 4-0 lead. Four more breaks followed to give the 28-year-old Argentine the set. In today’s action, in a reversal of service form, each player held six straight times to force a tiebreaker. Starace jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Nalbandian righted himself and reeled off the next seven points to take the set and the match. Nalbandian showed very little rust from his lengthy layoff. His groundstrokes were firm and penetrating, allowing him to open up the court and take control of most of the points. The Argentine, now ranked No. 140, had 34 winners to 18 for Starace. Nalbandian hit a respectable 68 percent of his first serves for the match despite struggling yesterday. All in all, it was a good solid performance. “I’m happy to be able to play tennis again, to compete,” Nalbandian said. “Being away from the circuit so long, it helped to play at home in Argentina. It helped to motivate me. I played very well considering it was my first match in so long. I hope it stays like this. I felt very good, but my body needs time to adjust to playing on tour.”

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