Nalbandian Rallies to Win First ATP Title on Home Soil
© Copa Telmex
David Nalbandian will break back into the Top 10 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings after defeating fellow Argentine Jose Acasuso 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in the Copa Telmex final on home soil in Buenos Aires.
Nalbandian won his eighth ATP title and first since claiming back-to-back ATP Masters Series shields in Madrid and Paris to end last season.
The 26-year-old was playing just his second tournament of the season, having fallen in the third round at the Australian Open. Including his Davis Cup victory earlier this month, Nalbandian is now 8-1 on the season.
"It's special to win a title in my home country with the support of the crowd and I am extremely happy for that," Nalbandian said. "If I have to give myself a grade for the week I would say eight for the fighting spirit and winning attitude I had all week.
"The match was really tough. The result itself shows that. In the first set I dropped serve myself with a couple of loose points. I knew the longer the match lasted the more chances I would have because I could see he was getting tired. When I won the second set I knew I needed to get one break as soon as possible to win the match."
Nalbandian, who is now 8-7 in career finals, had never progressed beyond the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires.
He had previously reached clay court finals five times, winning three titles (2002 Estoril, 2005 Munich, 2006 Estoril) and finishing runner-up twice (2001 Palermo and 2004 Masters Series Rome).
Acasuso was also the beaten Buenos Aires finalist in 2001, when he fell to Gustavo Kuerten. He slips to 3-7 in career finals. Acasuso was 4-5 on the season coming into Buenos Aires but leaves in positive territory at 8-6.
"I'm mad because I lost," Acasuso said. "No one likes to lose on any given day. But I'm satisfied with the way I played and for the fact I was really close to winning the title here.
"I had chances in the tie-break in the second set and when he was serving at 1-2, 15/40 in the third. The match was decided by one or two close points."