Nalbandian Trips Hewitt in Marathon; Nadal Cruises at Australian Open
by Staff | January 18th, 2011, 10:22 am

David “Fat Dave” Nalbandian and homecountry former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt put on a show for Australian Open fans that lasted into the wee hours of the morning in Melbourne, where the Argentine won a nearly five-hour battle 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1), 9-7, sending a frustrated Hewitt out in the first round of play.
Hewitt entered the contest leading the head-to-head series 3-2, which had featured some bad blood between the two, but there was little reason for the Aussie to break out “The Lawnmower” in the end after missed opportunities. Hewitt looked in control, up two sets to one and a break in the fourth set, but the resurgent No. 27-seeded Argentine would not be denied, fighting off two match points and storming back, ending the prolonged battle with a topspin lob winner over Hewitt’s head.

“Before the match I thought the match will be very, very tough, like was,” Fat Dave said. “I mean, he didn’t play a lot in the last month, and I thought maybe if I play good with good shots, maybe he wasn’t on a good move. I mean, but he play unbelievable. From the beginning was very tough. Very tough first round. And I expect a match like that with the crowd. It’s amazing playing with full stadium, with him here in Australia. But I think we both have a lot of chances. I mean, I was two match points down and then I turnover. I was serving for the match before in the fifth. It was that kind of matches that nobody can forget it.”

The Top 10 seeds had a smooth day, led by Rafael Nadal who will benefit over the field in the long run, contrasting Nalbandian’s almost five-four match with a 6-0, 5-0, ret. (knee) win over Brazil’s Marcos Daniel.

“Save energy or not, I think the way that the match came doesn’t make big difference, no?” said Nadal, who after the match hit the practice court to work on his serve. “Is difficult to say something, to say I played really well, I played bad. I think I played right. I played some good shots, some long shots. The serve can be a little bit better. Yeah, that’s the only point that I think I can improve. I can improve in everything for sure.”

Other Top 10 winners were No. 2 Robin Soderling, No. 5 Andy Murray, No. 7 David Ferrer in four over Jarkko Nieminen, and No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny.

“I haven’t had much success here in the past,” said Soderling, who next faces the big-serving Gilles Muller. “That’s why it’s even more important to really focus on the next match all the time. Now I got past the first round and I have a difficult match coming up and I have to play well.”

No. 24 seed Ernests Gulbis was the lone seeded upset on the day, losing in straight sets to American college system-raised German Benjamin Becker.

Other seeded matches of note were No. 13 Jo-Willie Tsonga surviving Philipp Petzschner from two sets down, No. 21 Marcos Baghdatis outlasing Slovak Grega Zemlja 6-2 in the fifth, and No. 30 Thomasz Bellucci recovering from almost blowing a 2-0 set lead, defeating Brazil’s Ricardo Mello 6-3 in the fifth.

American fortunes were mixed: No. 20 John Isner advanced in straights while “The” Donald Young was steamrolled 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 by No. 15 Marin Cilic, who used to be ranked No. 2 to Young’s No. 1 in the world junior rankings. In American “C”-team action, “Iron” Mike Russell also was a winner, defeating Aussie Matthew Ebden in four sets, and Ryan Sweeting advanced with a straight-set win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain.

Aussie Bernard Tomic saw some of his promise come through to the thrill of Aussie fans, impressively stopping Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(5).

“I play down here really good,” said Tomic, who judged his slice to be his biggest weapon. “Amongst the crowd, it’s different playing with your home crowd, the way they get behind you. I’m sure the other player feels it, as well…I’ve been working on sort of making the transition of the ball, to hit it harder throughout the point. Sometimes I get in the rally where I play too soft. Against these guys, you need to take the first point and hit it hard. That’s what I’ve been doing and working on the last six months. So really taking the opportunity whenever I get it.”

Additional unseeded winners of note were Juna Martin Del Potro, former junior world No. 1 Richard Berankis, and the Luxembourg serving machine Muller.

“Today I play good tennis again,” Del Potro said. “But I’m really enjoying this week. I met with all the players, especially the Top 10 players. They support me when I was very bad. So now I face to face with them and I say thank you…I feel in good shape again. I work very hard with my physical trainer. I need time to play harder and to play stronger. But just I need time. Sometimes some balls I play, I hit very, very far, and sometimes not. But with time and with training and with focus in every practice, I will take again.”

Matches to look for Wednesday in Melbourne include (8) Andy Roddick vs. Russian Igor Kunitsyn, Fed nemesis Gilles Simon vs. (2) Roger Federer, Janko Tipsarevic vs. (9) Fernando Verdasco, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber, (16) Mardy Fish vs. Tommy Robredo, Davydenko-killer Florian Mayer vs. Kei Nishikori, (25) Al Montanes vs. the resurgent Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, and (29) Viktor Troicki vs. French dress-wearing Wimbledon iron man Nicolas Mahut.
Roger Federer
has won 11 straight matches…Wearing that $500K watch, Rafael Nadal is 22-0 in Grand Slam matches…Trust us, if you are the coach of Ernests Gulbis you do not want to look up the last time your boy won a set in a Grand Slam…Until today Ana Ivanovic has never lost in the first round at the Australian Open…Until today Dinara Safina had never been double bageled…Already five men (Tsonga, Seppi, Fish, Kohlschreiber, Monfils) have come back from two sets down…Kim Clijsters needed 44 minutes to beat Dinara Safina. David Nalbandian needed over 4 hours 44 minutes to beat Lleyton Hewitt. Equal prize money?…Marcos Daniel picked up AUS $20K for playing injured against Rafa…Juan Martin Del Potro won his first best-of-five match in almost a year…Rafael Nadal’s last two Australian Open matches have ended with a knee retirement…The future of the ATP: Bernard Tomic, Richard Berankis, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dmitrov?….We know who won, but who had more fist pumps, Makarova or Ivanovic?…In two matches Gilles Simon has never lost to Roger Federer…Aussie Bernard Tomic says he is still growing and getting wider: “Yeah, I’m getting close to 6’5”. I think I’ve stopped growing. I’m physically getting wider. Growing is a tough thing. Don’t get me wrong. You can play well sometimes, and then you come to the court sometimes in practice and I can’t find my ball. But sometimes I think when I’m settled and I’m not growing as much, I play better. I used to weigh 86 kilos last Oz Open; now I’m weighing 91. I’ve definitely got more on me. I’m not saying I’m going to be like a hundred kilos. That’s not ideal for a tennis player. But I think this is my limit now with my weight. I just have to use this weight, where I am now, and just hold it.”…HGH champion Wayne Odesnik lost in the quarterfinals of the Plantation (Fla.) Futures event 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 to Luka GregorcAna Ivanovic admitted that her breakup with pro golfer Adam Scott around the middle of last year contributed to her on-court slide…American Lauren Davis announced she has turned pro, before getting hammered by Sam Stosur 6-1, 6-1.

You Might Like:
Lucky To Be Walking, Lleyton Hewitt Confident Of Playing The Australian Open
Lleyton Hewitt Announces He’ll Likely Retire After The 2016 Australian Open
Nalbandian Returns at Auckland; ATP Previews
Nalbandian Without a Coach, Gilbert Without $20
Testy Nadal Withdraws From Sao Paulo Doubles To Rest Knees, Nalbandian Returns With A Win; Federer Cruises In Rotterdam

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

19 Comments for Nalbandian Trips Hewitt in Marathon; Nadal Cruises at Australian Open

the_mind_reels Says:

Staff —

Thanks for the daily round-up, but could you try avoiding the insulting nicknames? “Fat Dave” — I get it, right? He’s not the slimmest guy out there. Thanks for pointing that out. He also just won a 4.5+ hour marathon match against Hewitt, but I guess any fat guy could do that.

There are enough other professional tennis players out there who aren’t the fittest-looking people on earth, so please stop picking on one of the game’s most talented players.

TGiT Says:

Hewitt must be crushed. What a match. Fat Dave can move when he needs to.

Daniel Says:

And please correct: Soderling is N. 4, not N. 2, that spot belong right now to another fela:)

margot Says:

jane, sar, Nina and other nole fans, hasten to Murraysworld at once! In pictures page 175, loads and loads and loads of Nole! On Andy’s site too? What IS going on ;)

M Says:

I’m with TMR. Not only is the moniker insulting, El Rey David is fitter than he used to be.

Nina Says:

@Margot… :))) I just started the official NolAndy appreciation group. These two seem to be the best friends now, practicing together whenever they can and even having some “bromantic” moments, lol. I’ve watched the pics, thanks, they’re everywhere! A lot of hugging and cute smiles. My motto from now on: NOLANDY WILL BE BACK. NO CHANCE FOR FEDAL IN 2011″. Let my prayers come true…

ged Says:

ditto TMR and M. not only is ‘fat dave’ insulting, but it also reflects the intelligence level of a three year-old. if you’d said ‘slimline’ or ‘hourglass’ or even cuddly’, ok. but how much stupider than ‘fat dave’ can one get?

in general, this has always been the biggest problem with this site. the “informal” blogging style makes the posts so irritating. the comments are usually more rewarding (which is the only reason i come back at all). the articles on are clearly orders of magnitude more professional.

Nina Says:

Must say the match between Nalby and Hewitt was phenomenal, riveting stuff. But I felt devastated that Lleyton lost. Both deserved to win in my opinion. What a match!

sar Says:

Margot, it’s an alliance to bring down the “evil empire.” :-)

Good cool Nole weather today.

margot Says:

Nina and sar am just opening a bottle of bubbly and raising a glass the splendid alliance/appreciation society Fandole….cheers m’dears…hiccup…giggle..hiccup ……death to the evil empire Come On!

grendel Says:

ged – are you by any chance a reader of Ursula Le Guin?

thark Says:

del potro is really developing a mature attitude – the way he thanks the top players for supporting him when he was down is very insightful and classy.

i was not a big delpo fan after USO 2009 but now he is really winning me over.

assuming – ahem – that he doesn’t play soda…

jane Says:

I am in the Fandole! Let’s do it, “death to evil empire” :) (went to Murray’s world to view pics, but is there a quicker way to get to page 175 than “click”, 5 pages, click, 5 more pages, and so on, seemingly ad infinitum??)

skeezerweezer Says:

Is tennis losing it’s muster?

First we have a love fest with Fedal, and now NolAndy?

“Beam me up Scotty”


ged Says:

hats off! i think the earthsea trilogy is probably one of the finest series published. “to light a candle is to cast a shadow”.

grendel Says:

yes, I agree. A series of perhaps comparable power is A Song of Ice and Fire, by George.R.R.Martin. Trouble is, he seems to have got stuck and given that, unlike Nalbandian he really is fat, immensely fat, there is a danger that he might snuff it before he completes.

Nina Says:

There are so many names for them -Nolandy, Fandole, Mukovic, Djokay, Mule, Grumpovic LOL… let’s stick to one, we need to agree on something if we want to bring down the evil empire, haha…
Check my signature for them:

scineram Says:


Steve Says:

M Says:
I’m with TMR. Not only is the moniker insulting, El Rey David is fitter than he used to be.
January 18th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Maybe it was my livestream that made his belly look bigger than ever? It just looked quite embarrassing… on this particular livestream!!!

Top story: Nadal Survives Mayer Threat In Barcelona, Will Face Ferrer Thursday
Most Recent story: Kvitova Advances In Stuttgart; Azarenka v Pliskova, Osaka v Hsieh Thurs.