An unlikely pairing made their way onto the court for the Men’s Singles Final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and David Nalbandian of Argentina were hardly the pair that ticketholders thought they would see (or wanted to see for that matter).
A Final that took place in our nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., tennis fans were hoping for an all-American match up like that of the Atlanta tournament with one of the numerous Americans in the draw making it to the end (Andy Roddick, John Isner, James Blake, Mardy Fish or Ryan Sweeting). Blake went out early an the rest fell to their opponents on an awful Thursday night.
What was left was a Cypriot who has had moments of greatness but was possibly playing with an ankle injury, and an Argentine who had just recovered from hip surgery but was always a force to be reckoned with.
Play began around 3p.m. and Baghdatis looked sluggish. Whether it was the weather (it was hot) or the injury, one can’t be sure. We had seen him practicing around 12p.m. and even then he looked tired (however, when does he not look tired).
Nalbandian came out fighting, much like he did in his Seminfinal against Marin Cilic. He won the first set 6-2 with hard hitting and running Baghdatis from side to side. There wasn’t much the Cypriot could do with the ball once Nalbandian had crushed it from the other side of the net.
A very astute reader of ours (Nethead Kevin) remarked that perhaps the time off for Nalbandian is what’s made him so “sharp.” No matter what the reason, Nalbandian is back to being top 10 material and those who are currently up there better watch out for him at the U.S. Open.
(Photos: The Slice)