He’s climbed as high as No. 3 in the world, given world No. 1 Roger Federer fits, reached the Wimbledon final and won the year-ending Masters Cup, and says 2007 will be a new year where he will attempt to win his first Grand Slam title, but Argentina’s David Nalbandian went back to what he does best in his 2007 debut match — underachieving.
The No. 2-seeded Nalbandian lost to unseeded Dane Kristian Pless, blowing a set lead 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 in his 2007 debut Tuesday at the Chennai Open in India.
Nalbandian had beaten the No. 84-ranked Pless in both their previous meetings.
The Argentine’s erratic display included seven double faults and a cascade of unforced errors, albeit apparently aided by injury.
“I was thinking of winning in two straight sets, but Pless began playing well and my shots were no longer going deep as in the first set,” Nalbandian said. “The tendinitis in my left leg also did not help. I felt the pain that had been troubling me since last year.”
Pless will next face the big-serving Croatian “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic.
The other seeded players in action all came through on the day in (1) Rafael Nadal (d. Schuettler), (5) Carlos Moya d. Waske), (6) Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro (d. (Q) Skoch who retired with a back injury), and (7) Paradorn “The Thai Fighter” Srichaphan (d. (Q) Bolelli).
AROUND THE DIAL:
Russian Dinara Safina said she had been diagnosed with a “fatigue syndrome” late last year…Tennis Week Editor-in-Chief Neil Amdur says: “Yes, [Maria] Sharapova generates $25 million in earnings and endorsements that puts her in rarified marketing company. But that’s because of beauty, not her backhand.” Oh really. When did winning a Slam and narrowly missing finishing the year at the top player in the world fail to qualify for greatness? Would have thought Tennis Week would be all over Sharapova, considering they inexplicably put her on the cover (perhaps it was the hot slinky dress and model looks?) for their 2006 year-end issue rather than the perhaps-less-photogenic Justine Henin-Hardenne who had just earned the No. 1 ranking…From the ATP on Jan. 2: “Mercedes-Benz and the ATP today refuted claims that Mercedes-Benz would be opting out of its acclaimed sports marketing partnership with the governing body of the men’s professional tennis circuit. The longstanding commercial partnership between the two organizations, first formed in 1996 and extended last November through 2008, continues to be one of the most successful and visible in all of sports worldwide.”…American Chanda Rubin withdrew from Gold Coast this week with knee and foot injuries, and Jamea Jackson withdrew from Auckland according to the WTA with “right hip surgery”…Maria Sharpaova is the only Top 15 player not scheduled to make a tour appearance prior to the Australian Open — no need with all the lucrative exhibitions scheduled in January, but will she show up in Melbourne tournament tough?
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