Nalbandian likes US Open chances

08:24, August 10, 2010      

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WASHINGTON - Argentina's injury-plagued David Nalbandian snapped a 19-month title drought by winning Sunday's Washington Classic final and likes his chances of adding a deep US Open run to his comeback success.

Nalbandian won his first ATP title since January 2009 at Sydney by beating eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-2, 7-6 (4) for the $281,500 top prize from the $1.4 million tournament, a US Open tuneup event.

"If I continue playing this good, I have a chance to go very, very far," Nalbandian said of the year's last Grand Slam event that starts Aug 30.

The former world No 3 was sidelined nine months after hip surgery, made a brief return early in 2010, then missed two months with a sore hamstring before coming back in July to help Argentina reach the Davis Cup semifinals.

"We passed very tough moments in the last year and a half with the surgery," Nalbandian said. "We have to enjoy this moment. It's tough to come back and play this well. Now we have to keep going."

At 117th in the world, Nalbandian is the lowest-ranked player to win an ATP title this year, a feat that will lift him back into the top 45.

"If he plays like that, he can beat a lot of guys in the top 10," Baghdatis said.

The 28-year-old South American has missed the past six Grand Slams and had not played an ATP event since April, but he captured his 11th career crown and dropped only one set all week.

"I didn't expect to win the first tournament (where) I came," Nalbandian said. "It's very important. I was working very hard. I was fighting so much. This makes me feel very good, not only (about) the ranking but my game."

Nalbandian said he has moments when he hits the ball as well as he ever has but noted, "I hit the ball good a few years ago, too."

Baghdatis went only 2-of-11 on break-point chances in the second set and managed to win only 4-of-13 points off his second serves in the first.

"He's a pain in the ass when he plays good," Baghdatis said. "He played really good. Well done, David. I'm glad you came back and I hope you have a great year."

After trading four service breaks and battling each other in nearly every game of the second set, they fought into the tiebreaker. Nalbandian rolled to a 5-0 lead and went on to win after two hours.

"I didn't serve well. That was the key," Baghdatis said. "I played a little better in the second set. I had my chances but I didn't take them. He started well in the tiebreaker and that was it."

Baghdatis, ranked 25th, failed in a bid for his fifth career ATP title. He will move to 21st after a rankings slide from the top 150 last year with wrist and back injuries.

"I'm positive about the future even though I'm disappointed to lose," he said.

Source: China Daily/Agencies


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