Nalbandian makes winning start to Paris campaign

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PARIS, Oct 28 (Reuters) David Nalbandian made a winning start to the Paris Masters Series tournament with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Spain's Nicolas Almagro today.

A week after claiming his first Masters Series title with a shock win over world number one Roger Federer in the Madrid final, Argentine Nalbandian showed more composure when it mattered to brush aside Almagro.

A break in the seventh game set up the world number 18, who later underlined his determination by winning a service game to love to take the set after 41 minutes.

The second set followed a similar pattern, Nalbandian again breaking his opponent to move 4-3 up and staying on top until sealing victory with a drop shot on the first match point.

Nalbandian goes on to meet another Spaniard in Carlos Moya, the 14th seed, with the winner of that match likely to face a third-round encounter with Federer.

Swiss Federer, who last appeared in the indoor tournament in 2003, leads a strong field featuring 19 of the world's top 20 players, with just number five Andy Roddick missing.

Federer, who was playing the Swiss Indoors final in his hometown Basel today, has a first-round bye in Paris.

At stake at the Paris event, starting on a Sunday for the first time, are the two remaining spots for the Nov. 11-18 Masters Cup in Shanghai.

Six players have already qualified for the season's finale featuring the world's top eight players.

REUTERS TB RAI2238

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