Saturday, July 16, 2005

Nalbandian Conquers his Demons, Australia

How things change! About six months ago on the centre court at Melbourne Park, David Nalbandian squandered numerous opportunities to take the game to and beyond Lleyton Hewitt. It wasn't the first time Nalbandian had 'choked' - couple of years ago he let the US Open semi-final slip away against Andy Roddick. Today he finally redeemed himself, in the process being instrumental in one of Argentina's greatest Davis Cup wins. I have been a fan of Nalbandian's game for a while, and he seems to have all the talent - a solid serve, excellent groundstrokes and a very good feel of the court. However, he's let himself down on a few occasions and there has been a bit of a question mark over his big match temperament. As Channel 7's John Alexander remarked, he is overly conservative at times. Nalbandian's cause was served enormously by Hewitt, who was a shadow of himself. The burden of having to do it all by himself seemed to weigh heavily on Hewitt's mind and he struggled to get into any kind of rhythm until the third set. Australia must feel bitterly disappointed at losing to the Argentineans at home on grass. Despite the absence of Philippoussis and Woodbridge, they were favourites here, but Wayne Arthurs failed to produce anywhere near his best tennis. His biggest weapon, his serve, was pretty flat and he was, surprisingly, the weakest player on court in the doubles. But then, Davis Cup has a way of springing surprises, as Indians know all too well. - NK

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