Nalbandian beaten by Swiss Wawrinka in Basel

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BASEL, Switzerland, Oct 25 (Reuters) David Nalbandian made a surprise exit in the opening round of the Swiss Indoors, beaten 7-6 6-2 by local favourite Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nalbandian pulled off a shock victory over Roger Federer in Sunday's Madrid Masters final, only to be humbled three days later in the world number one's home city and by his Swiss Davis Cup team mate yesterday..

''It was a win for Roger and for me,'' Wawrinka told reporters.

''I spoke to Roger after the Basel draw was made and he told me to win this one.'' The opening set was close with both players saving one break point to line up a tiebreak won 7-5 by Wawrinka.

The world number 35 then broke serve twice in the second set to earn a meeting with Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych, who put out Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-6 3-6 6-3.

Although ranked 17 places below Nalbandian, the Swiss number two boasts a 4-2 head-to-head record against the Argentine.

GREAT MATCH ''I always enjoy playing him, even in the first two matches that I lost, but beating him today at home was unbelievable,'' said Wawrinka.

''It was a great match for me and I was very happy with how I served. I'm sure Roger will be just as happy with the way I played as with the result itself.'' American fourth seed James Blake stayed on course for a place at the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai with a 6-3 6-4 win over Spain's Oscar Hernandez.

The world number seven, who next faces Croatian Ivo Karlovic, is 10th in the race for the Masters Cup's eight qualifying spots but will go joint eighth if he makes the semi-finals here.

''To reach the Masters Cup two years in a row would be great because it would mean I've had a great year of tennis,'' said Blake.

Sixth seed Guillermo Canas also progressed with a 6-4 6-3 triumph over fellow Argentine Jose Acasuso.

REUTERS BJR VC1415

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