Nalbandian Upsets Tsonga at Indian Wells

by John on March 15, 2012

Argentine David Nalbandian rallied from the brink of defeat to upset No. 6-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., yesterday afternoon.  The oft-injured Nalbandian, ranked No. 74, saved a match point with Tsonga serving at 5-4 in the second set and then won nine of the last 12 games to take the match going away in two hours and 18 minutes.  Tsonga was the second  Top 10 player in a row to fall victim to the resurgent Nalbandian, a  former world No. 3.  Nalbandian bounced No. 10-ranked Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia on Tuesday.  The 30-year-old Argentine underwent hip surgery in May of 2009 and after returning to the tour early the following year, has spent the last two seasons battling off-and-on injuries with mixed results.  Nalbandian won at Washington in 2010, but went without a title last year for the first time since 2004.  The Cordoba native has avoided the injury bug so far this year and was a quarterfinalist at Sao Paulo and semifinalist at Buenos Aires on the South American Swing in February.  Nalbandian started the match auspiciously, breaking Tsonga’s serve in the opening game, but gave the advantage back by dropping serve in the fourth game.  Tsonga broke a second time in the eighth game, when Nalbandian double faulted on break point, and served it out.  Both players held serve through the first six games of the second set, and then a spate of four straight breaks followed. Nalbandian held for 6-5 and broke in the following game to take the set.  From there it was all over for Tsonga.  Nalbandian seized the only break in the decider for a 3-1 lead and never came close to giving it back.  The Argentine won all 12 of his first-serve points in the final set and lost only four points in his last five service games.  A love hold sealed Nalbandian’s comeback.  Statistically, it was a strange match.  Tsonga served 13 aces to none for Nalbandian, and had three double faults to seven for the Argentine.  The Frenchman led 30-15 in winners, but committed 59 unforced errors to 45 for Nalbandian.  Next up for Nalbandian is Rafael Nadal in a quarterfinal matchup tomorrow.

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