The Argentine could be the first man to defend the Paribas Masters title after another mercurial display...

Nalbo outlasts Davydenko to reach Paris final



Originally published on 26/02/10 11:18

He might have said he wasn’t interested in heading out to Shanghai – but you wouldn’t know it. David Nalbandian has downed his third top-ten player of the week to reach the Paris Masters final to put himself a win away from a Masters Cup berth with a 6-1 5-7 6-4 victory over Nikolay Davydenko.

The Argentine, who has previously declared that he is solely focused on the upcoming Davis Cup final against Spain at the end of the month, will guarantee himself a top-eight finish in the ATP Race if he can defend his title – something that has never been done before in Paris.

And the world No.8 was in stunning form early on, racing to a double break and 5-0 first-set lead inside 15 minutes before Davydenko finally put a game on the board.

“He made some unforced errors and I take the chances that he gave me”

The Russian lifted his game in the second set, and the pair traded breaks midway through, but despite only having had to play a single set against an injured Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, Davydenko made a string of unforced errors and could not take complete charge.

However, Nalbandian’s level had also dropped, and he lost four consecutive points on his own serve to drop the set.

The deciding set was going with serve until Davydenko made more errors to gift Nalbandian the break. The Argentine was not in the mood to let that advantage slip, and took full advantage to serve out for the victory.

“It was tough,” Nalbandian said afterwards. “I mean, the first set didn’t look like, because I just play great and he made some unforced errors and I take the chances that he gave me.

“In the second and third set he start serving better, and very good rallies for both. He hit a lot of lines, and it’s okay. I played great.”

The defending champion now faces crowd favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, with the winner guaranteed a top-eight ATP Race berth. With Tsonga having beaten James Blake in the other semi-final, Nalbandian’s compatriot Juan Martin Del Potro has secured his place in Shanghai.

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