In a battle of former Top 10 players, wild card David Nalbandian will bid for his first career ATP title in the U.S. this afternoon against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.
Last night, the 28-year-old Nalbandian routed fourth-seeded Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2 to reach his first final in America.
“I played great. I’ve been playing well all week,” said Nalbandian who was off the tour with hip and hamstring injuries this year. “I returned well today, which gave me more confidence for all my game. I tried to press him a lot.
“When you spend a lot of time outside the court you miss the tennis, miss the adrenaline. I’m trying to enjoy it every time I go out. I think I have another three or four years of playing at this level. I’m working hard to be fit.”
Earlier in the day, Baghdatis survived a rolled left ankle to beat Xavier Malisse 6-2, 7-6(4).
“It looked fine at the end and I was moving pretty good. Hopefully I won’t have pain tonight and it will be fine tomorrow,” Baghdatis said of the ankle injury he sustained in the eighth game of the second set. “Right now I am going to enjoy my victory. I’m very happy I won and it was a great fight.”
Baghdatis has beaten Nalbandian three of four times including three straight. But they last played at Wimbledon 2007.
The 117th-ranked Nalbandian is projected to move back into the Top 60 win his final run, and into the Top 45 with a win Sunday. Baghdatis, ranked No. 25, will jump back into the Top 20 should he win the title.
The match will be televised live on ESPN2 at 3pm ET.
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