Nalbandian tames Nadal again in Paris final

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Paris, Nov 5: Argentine David Nalbandian extended his perfect record against Rafael Nadal by crushing the world number two 6-4 6-0 in the final of the Paris Masters Series tournament today.

The unseeded Nalbandian, who had destroyed the Spaniard 6-1 6-2 in their first meeting in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Masters two weeks ago, highlighted his brilliant form with a near-perfect display.

Nalbandian, who beat Roger Federer for the Madrid crown before knocking out the world number one en route to the final here, claimed his second title in the showcase series and will be rewarded with a return to the top 10 tomorrow at number nine.

Nadal, who had never lost a match in the French capital and was appearing at the 2.45 million dollars indoor event for the first time, failed to emulate American Andre Agassi, the only player to have won both the French Open and the Paris Masters.

The first set was extremely tight with no break opportunity for either player until Nalbandian got two in the ninth game and converted the first with a return winner.

The Argentine then won his service game to love to take the set in 41 minutes.

The confident 25-year-old stepped up a gear in the second set and Nadal collapsed.

The 21-year-old Mallorcan looked helpless at times and showed signs of nerves, notably when he dropped serve with a double fault in the third game of the last set.

Nalbandian served for the match and swiftly earned three match points. He needed only one, a forehand winner which bounced on the net cord ending the three-times French Open champion's suffering.

A former top three player, Nalbandian served efficiently, returned superbly and dictated play with aggressive groundstrokes and occasional sharp volleys in a one-sided contest that lasted 68 minutes.

The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up narrowly missed out on a spot at the season-end Masters Cup featuring the world's top eight in Shanghai, where Federer, Nadal and company will battle it out from November 11.

Nalbandian, one the world's most formidable players when on song, famously defeated Federer in the 2005 Masters Cup final.

Reuters>

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