Federer beats Nalbandian in Masters Cup opener | india | Hindustan Times
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Federer beats Nalbandian in Masters Cup opener

Roger Federer came from a set down to demolish defending champion David Nalbandian 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 18:28 IST

World number one Roger Federer came from a set down to demolish defending champion David Nalbandian 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the opening match of the Masters Cup on Sunday.

In a rematch of last year's classic final, Federer, who missed last week's Paris Masters citing fatigue, committed a string of unforced errors in a rusty first set.

But the Swiss machine soon clicked into gear, producing some vintage moments as his opponent imploded.

The 2003 and 2004 champion is bidding to become the first player to win three Masters Cup titles and the first man since Pete Sampras to win three year-ending championships.

He was broken in the third game before breaking back for 3-3 after Nalbandian became the first Masters Cup player to challenge a line-call using the "Hawkeye" video technology -- incorrectly, as it turned out.

But Nalbandian found a forehand return to break for 4-3 and was gifted the first set point by Federer's only double-fault of the match.

It was a different story in the second set as Federer broke immediately and thrilled the Qi Zhong Stadium crowd with some brilliant tennis to level the round-robin match in 28 minutes.

The Swiss took the fourth game with a quick interchange at the net, and charged from behind the baseline to chase down a drop shot and break for 4-1.

After holding his service game to love, Federer converted his first set point when Nalbandian found the net.

The game was up for Nalbandian when the Argentine world number seven was broken twice to go 0-4 down.

With the unforced error count ticking higher, Nalbandian finally won a game for 5-1 but then handed the Swiss the first of three set points as he dumped a forehand into the net.

Nalbandian also lost last year's opening match to Federer by two sets to one before coming from two sets down to beat the hobbling Swiss in the final.