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Archive for the ‘David Nalbandian’ Category

Head-to-head: Baghdatis leads 2-1

Baghdatis defeated Latvian Ernests Gulbis 36 64 63 62 in the first round and then recorded the 100th victory of his career in defeating Nicolas Devilder 60 76 67 64 in the second.

Baghdatis is making his third consecutive Wimbledon appearance. He had his best result here last year, reaching the semifinals by defeating Andy Murray 63 64 76 in the last 16 and Lleyton Hewitt 61 57 76 62 in the quarterfinals, before losing to Rafael Nadal 61 75 63. He lost to Mikhail Youzhny 62 36 61 64 in the first round on his debut in 2005.

2006 was an outstanding year for Baghdatis. Before reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, he advanced to his first Grand Slam final at the 2006 Australian Open, as world No. 54 recording three consecutive wins over Top Ten players – No. 3 Andy Roddick in the round of 16, No. 8 Ivan Ljubicic in the quarterfinals and No. 4 David Nalbandian in the semifnials – before falling in the final to No. 1 Roger Federer 57 75 60 62.

By contrast, Baghdatis lost in the second rounds at 2006 Roland Garros and the 2006 US Open, but the above results combined with winning his first career title at 2006 Beijing saw his ranking jump up 44 places throughout the year to end the season at No. 12.

This is Baghdatis’s 12th Grand Slam event and he is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a major for the fifth time.

In 2007, Baghdatis has picked up where he left off in 2006, although his Grand Slam results have been less impressive so far. He won his second career title at Zagreb on indoor carpet (d. Ivan Ljubicic 76 46 64 in the final), and also reached another final two weeks later at Marseille on indoor hard (l. to Gilles Simon 64 76), and a third final at Halle on grass (l. Tomas Berdych 75 64). His best Grand Slam result to date this season was a round of 16 appearance at Roland Garros (l. Igor Andreev 26 61 63 64).

2007 Halle marked Baghdatis’s first career grass court final. That was the only tournament he played on this surface ahead of 2007 Wimbledon, as he then withdrew from ’s-Hertogenbosch with a foot injury.

Baghdatis was ITF Junior World Champion in 2003, winning the boys’ singles at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up in that event at the US Open that year. He fared less well at Wimbledon during his junior career, losing in the boys’ singles second round on both of his appearances here, in 2001-02.

Nalbandian, playing in his fifth Wimbledon, defeated qualifier Mischa Zverev 63 64 62 in the first round and lucky loser Frank Dancevic 62 63 57 63 in the second round.

Nalbandian has maintained his record of always reaching the third round at Wimbledon. Last year he lost at this stage for the first time, losing to Fernando Verdasco 76 76 62, his earliest Wimbledon exit.

Nalbandian reached his first Grand Slam final on his Wimbledon debut in 2002. He defeated Nicolas Lapentti 64 64 46 46 64 in the quarterfinals and Xavier Malisse 76 64 16 26 62 in the semifinals, before losing to Lleyton Hewitt 61 63 62 in the final. This is his most successful Grand Slam performance to date and remarkably was achieved in his first ever professional grass court event.

Since reaching the final in 2002, Nalbandian’s best performance at Wimbledon has been a quarterfinal finish in 2005 (l. Thomas Johansson 76 62 62).

Nalbandian is one of two active players, along with Roger Federer, to have reached the semifinals or better at all four Grand Slams. He reached that stage here in 2002 en route to the final (see above), at the 2003 US Open, and at 2004 Roland Garros, and completed the set at the 2006 Australian Open. He reached his fifth Grand Slam semifinal at 2006 Roland Garros.

Nalbandian is playing a Top 10 player for the 53rd time in his career. He has a 20-32 win-loss record in his previous meetings with Top 10 players.

Nalbandian is joined in the third round by Guillermo Canas, who plays Lleyton Hewitt today. If both Argentines win today and advance to the round of 16, it will mark the second time in the Open Era that two Argentines have advanced to the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria achieved this for the first time in 2005.

Nalbandian warmed up for Wimbledon at Halle, but as No. 7 seed lost in the first round to Marc Gicquel 57 62 64.

Nalbandian reached the round of 16 at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year, losing to Tommy Haas 46 63 62 63 and Nikolay Davydenko 63 76 36 76 at that stage respectively.

Nalbandian’s other highlight of 2007 was reaching the quarterfinals at Barcelona. After a first round bye, he defeated two Spaniards (Alberto Martin and Carlos Moya) in the next two rounds before losing to another Spaniard David Ferrer 76 62.

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