Nalbandian Seeks First US Title Against Baghdatis in Washington Final
by Staff | August 8th, 2010, 11:11 am
  • 32 Comments

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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32 Comments for Nalbandian Seeks First US Title Against Baghdatis in Washington Final

jane Says:

I like Baggy, but I want Nalby to win this more. He is enjoying himself after “missing” tennis, and even more inspiring is his comment about “working hard” to be fit. That suggests a fire to make the best of his final 3-4 years (his estimate). Go David!!


grendel Says:

jane, after Nalbandian won the Master’s Cup or whatever it’s called in Shanghai (beating Federer in final), he was asked if he had aspirations for being #1. He replied something along the lines that to be #1 you’ve got to be prepared to give your all throughout the season – and he cited Federer as an example of someone who was so prepared. He strongly left the impression that he was not. People have criticised this attitude, and it must, of course, be frustrating for his fans and fellow countrymen.

But I’m not so sure. He’s a bit like the Williams sisters in that he has other interests which he is not prepared to sacrifice on the altar of tennis. Why should he? Apparently, he has only won 10 titles. So what? Sure, he could have won a lot more, but he decided he had other priorities. Who’s to say he was wrong? Do most people really take count of the number of tourneys won? Injury, of course, has been a bummer for him.

But in any case, I think it’s interesting to have a mix on the circuit. And there is something particularly intriguing in having a person as talented as Nalbandian hovering permanantly on the sidelines so that no one is quite sure whether he is there or not. Apparently when Nadal was asked who would be his chief rivals for this year, he named the players you would expect him to name, then paused for a bit and added “…and Nalbandian,… if he wants to”.

I like it. If he wants to. Don’t think I’ll bother about Wimbledon this year, not in the mood, and besides there’s some good fishing at ** in late June…..hmmm, I feel good, think I might have a crack at the Australian this time round..And you know he’s got a chance. In this day of heavy professionalism, this amateur style approach has charm. Even so, it will be infuriating beyond measure if the silly man goes and gets injured, or over stretches himself, over the next couple of weeks.


jane Says:

LOL, what a perfect quip from Rafa, “if he wants to.” Ha! And yeah, I have a bit of the Romanitc in me, so the rogue-type is appealing. Especially the uber-talented ones like Nalby, Gasquet, Safin. But they are, in equal parts, exasperating. At least Safin won a couple of slams. It’s the willingness to buck the system and follow their hearts that is endearing to me, esp in a field where they have to be so devoted, single-minded, and “professional” at such a young age. It’s hard not to admire those who beat to their own drums. But then, the head rebels and says “wasted potential” with a heavy sigh. With Safin, you could almost have it both ways.


margot Says:

Yes, I love that attitude in Nalbandian too, so honest and refreshing and, I suppose, if you keep getting injured, you do start thinking WTF.
grendel: you thought he looks different, he’s definately lost weight, last time I saw him he has quite a gut.
Sherlock or Nalby, hmm quite a choice….


margot Says:

Afterthought; wish Andy M was a bit more like DN. Andy, take some time out, chill, go fishing, stop being so hard on yourself…..


funches Says:

Except Murray’s already done more in his short career than Nalby has in his long career.

I’ve never understood when fans celebrate guys for being underachievers, and to compare Nalby to the Williams sisters is a stretch. They’ve, like, you know, won multiple slams. He’s won none even though he has the talent to win about five. The U.S. Open would be a good start because it’s wide open this year.


grendel Says:

I suppose it’s the romance of the thing. Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Borg, Lendl – these are people who chased records relentlessly, and they get due honour for their achievements. But there are always those who just seemed to play for the hell of it. Lew Hoad comes primarily to mind – “only” 4 slams, I think, and in the eyes of many top players the most gifted tennis player ever. He played as he felt like, sometimes not bothering particularly to win. I suspect records meant little to him, an amazingly devil-may-care attitude which is refreshing, although at the same time you wouldn’t want everyone to be like that.

Nalbandian will, in my eyes, be remembered as his own man, someone who could thrash a Federer, a Nadal on his day, and who could be thrashed himself by someone with a tenth of his ability. That’s how it goes. So I wouldn’t call Nalbandian an underachiever exactly, although strictly speaking he has been – but it’s sort of irrelevant. People will always remember Nalbandian even though he may never win a slam.

Yes, the comparison to the Williams sisters is indeed a stretch – nevertheless, there is something in common there, and that’s all I was highlighting.


margot Says:

funches: the talent on the men’s side is high and wide and deep. On the women’s ?? Thus, it’s much easier to be a bit of a tennis dillitante on the women’s and pick up slams, than on the men’s. That’s not to denigrate the amazing achievements of the Williams’ sisters, in any way whatsoever.
As for Andy, after seeing the self abuse against Querry, why I just think he should lighten up.
Hmm, might be able to see Sherlock and Nalby…


margot Says:

Blimey, anyone else watching this? Nalbandian has come out like an express train and takes set, 6-2.
Perfect time to watch tennis match in UK, BTW- smug smile…


Robbie Says:

Im watching the Nalbandian match in the UK, hes playing really well, serving badly though, its good to have him back playing again!
In terms of his attitude, I say its his choice how much effort he wants to put in, if he looks back on his career in regret he only has himself to blame, but I bet he won’t, I actually like his attitude, as hes seeing the wider picture! Helps that hes a fantastic player, and yes Murray should lighten up!


madmax Says:

I’m watching it Margot too – just posted on the other thread – I hope he is able to maintain his movement – looks like he is suffering a bit – hold tight nalby!


madmax Says:

this is actually quite a nailbiting match – DF nalby – try again.


madmax Says:

Nalby did it! So pleased for him! Great to see him back! wasnt sure whether he was going to do it – movement slowed down – BUT – good for him.


madmax Says:

I think he is now going to move from being outside of top 150, to 45, after he has now won this tournament – that is just amazing -


Lefty Says:

Congratulations Nalby!
Welcome back. Stick around for a while – please!

Also, big congratulations to Caroline Wozniacki for winning the Danish Open this morning?
Apparently, they brought the final forward so she could cross the Atlantic to reach the start of some small tournament in Cincinnati…

What odds for a run to the final of the US Open again this year?


Fot Says:

Let’s see if he can keep this form for more than 1 week. He has the strokes, but like someone said earlier – does he have the mind to continue to do good?

He’s in Soderling’s quarter in Canada. Let’s see if both of them can get that far to meet each other. That would be an ‘interesting’ match. (even though Nalbie has a 5-1 edge lifetime)


margot Says:

madmax: much tighter second set wasn’t it, but shame Baggy gifted the tie break. Nalby sooo special. Let’s see what next week brings……


madmax Says:

Margot, did you see the interview esq type questioning just now with Miles McClagan? Miles seems to be to be a touch sad at having left the murray camp, though he did say the papers wanted to make more of it than there was, that he was still on amicable terms with Andy.

He just seemed sad to me – said the life on “the road” was a great one, following the sun – I looked at his eyes, they were glazed over – poor miles – I hope he is able to find another player to coach soon – he did seem genuinely sad to me, or may be it was the camera lights in the studio?

It was good to actually hear him speak. He seems a nice, genuine guy who wished Andy well.


madmax Says:

we’ve just posted above at the same time!, yes it was tight and I have to be honest, I thought at match point, marcos was going to take the set – if this happened, I think nalby would have folded – but am pleased he has won his 11th title!

Andrew! It’s now 11 titles, not 10!

catch you tomorrow Margot. Off to bed.


grendel Says:

First set Nalby was the imperious Nalbandian of the rest of the tourney – and then, something happened. Miles Macglagan, Murray’s ex coach, thought he wasn’t moving his feet too well on account of nerves, but I’m wondering if he was tired, too – both mentally and physically. Baghdatis, after all, is a very, very good player, and he was at least as good as Nalby in the second set prior to the tiebreak. It’s fascinating to me, because nalbandian only had to drop his standards by a small degree – and his opponent pounces; for if Nalbandian had continued as in the first set, nothing Baggy could have done about it. This gives one an insight into the tremendous pressure these matches hold. And the amount it must take out of the participants.

Nalbandian is reputed to have said that he missed the adrenalin, but he must have got a mighty dose of it today. And it seems to bear out what one thought – if it’s so difficult for Nalbandian to win in two sets against a somewhat lesser player, it’s going to be really tremendously hard for him to win 7 best of 5 matches on the trot. Which is why the next two weeks are crucial, imo. Nalbandian could do himself a favour by losing early in one of the next two masters, I should have thought. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrer beats him.

That said, it was great to see Nalbandian coming out in the tiebreak all guns firing. He must have known a 3rd set would be very hard for him to win. At the moment, he cares. So timing is all.


grendel Says:

madmax – Miles M seemed subdued, couldn’t tell whether because sad or because a bit shy – not been in commentary box before, I shouldn’t think.


Kimmi Says:

Congratulations nalby. So happy for him. before the tournament I was hoping he would win and he did it.

I wish him all the best in the coming tournaments. IF he carries on like this..everybody watch out.


Kimmi Says:

i missed the final today..thanks for the match comments guys. just finished reading all. It sounds like nalby was tired in the second set or was he injured again? I hope it was just nerves. i am so happy he was able to hang in there and win it.

Contador – i am now thinking nalby cannot get far in toronto. Like grendel thinking, i also will not be surprised if he loses to ferrer. *scratch head*

i think I have to change my picks..


Jake Willens Says:

I LOVE having Nalbo back in the mix! Man, is he a clean ball striker. I think he might have been one of the best EVER had he put in the work and stayed healthy.


steve Says:

Most people have said much of what I was going to say, so I will just add that Nalbandian’s lobs are some of the best in the game.


Andrew Miller Says:

Grendel – on losing early in Toronto – to me not a bad strategy for any player to lose early in one of the two Masters leading up to USO – not bad for Nalbandian or anyone really who has the luxury. I think Nadal should try it out – play well in Canada and lose early in Cincinatti or pull out during a match. Sure, it is awful for fans – and it’s controversial, because I am advocating putting their best tennis in at USOpen and leaving some masters high and dry!


jane Says:

Congrats to Nalbandian! Was running all day (not literally!) so missed the match. But looking forward to the Toronto event and all (most of) the top seeds back in action.


guy Says:

i enjoy watching nalbandian and generally support him, but i can’t say i respect him as a player.
the lurking threat he poses does have it’s interesting side as grendel says.
but you look at players like nadal,fed etc and their pursuit of perfection in their game and their focus and work ethic and that’s the stuff you want.

players like nalbandian or gulbis or even safin, it’s hard to really respect these people because they don’t maximise their talent and they don’t really have the discipline or character needed.

nalbandian has been frustrating me for years. davydenko too, but with davydenko the worst you can say about him is he’s a little mentally weak compared to the very best, but besides that you see the guy training hard, improving his game etc.

but nalbandian has more belief than davy, equal talent, although a better transition game, but he’s lazy and fat.

although if argentina had a slam, he’d have won a bunch by now.


contador Says:

Kimmi-

i appreciate your input too. when i login the atp site all i get to see is Gianttutu’s overall standing, which isn’t too bad for either of us considering we missed so many tournaments.

i got home late tonight but had recorded the nalby baggy final. nalby won but the second set his level dropped imo. what a 1st set from him!! he played like the 1st set for most of this tournament too, which has to be making those in his draw think twice.

i am staying with david over soda pop. it was miserable hot in DC and i think a couple days rest plus the cooler weather and he’ll be happy. regardless, nalby seems to be happy in the moment imo and i think he won’t hold back in toronto.

it’s refreshing to see him back!

i have my quarterfinal , semi, final and tot # games in final picked.

definitely this is tougher than clay court!

good luck Kimmi


contador Says:

hey Kimmi-

on my way out the door to work and i had to change a few picks again! hahaha

may regret it cos it’s either a good idea or very bad second guessing. I dunno which.


contador Says:

one of the changes: gulbis over bellucci. breaking my promise : )

he was “overheated” in D.C remember? hoping his hamstring was not the problem and the cooler temp will help.


NameAllreadyTaken Says:

He played amazing, and i believe he can win USO, not that he will but don´t wright this guy off cause on fire he is known to overpower topplayers in a brutal fahsion, and maybe the time has come again where Feds former big nightmare Nalbandian is on fire, maybe allso in GS.

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