Novak beats Nalbandian in five-set thriller

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:04 IST

Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic won the Swiss Indoors title at Basel on Sunday, defeating David Nalbandian of Argentina in a thrilling five-set final.

Novak beats Nalbandian in five-set thriller

Basel:

Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic won the Swiss Indoors title at Basel on Sunday, defeating David Nalbandian of Argentina in a thrilling five-set final. Novak bounced back from a set down to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in just over three hours to claim the first indoors title of his career. Neither player dropped many points on their serve to start, keeping the match even until 2-2, when the two traded breaks. But a double fault and two stunning returns at 5-5 gave the decisive break to Nalbandian, who then held for the set. The Argentine was suddenly putting up little resistance, as Novak reeled off seven games in a row, breaking to go 5-3, evening the sets at one apiece, and jumping to a 4-0 lead in the third set. Nalbandian dug deep to retrieve one of the breaks, jumping to 40-0 at 5-2 with Novak saving one break point. Still struggling, Nalbandian saved a set point in the following game to hang on 5-4. But the effort was in vain, with Novak successfully serving out the set for a 2-1 lead. Whether it was letting off steam or a three-minute medical time-out late in the third set but Nalbandian appeared completely transformed when he entered the fourth. Novak was able to hold just one service game at 3-0 before the Argentine won the last three games to even the sets. Novak takes lead In a tense final set, the two stayed neck-and-neck until Novak made the key break to take a 4-2 lead. Nalbandian dug his own grave at 5-2 when he misjudged a backhand smash before angrily trashing his second racket of the afternoon. The code violation meant the Argentine was starting his next serve at 0-15 and it wasn't long before Novak built up triple match point. The Czech hit a first forehand out, then Nalbandian saved a second match point after moving up on a deep serve and smashing a winner. But a backhand error that put the ball into the net on the last match point gave Novak the title. The defeat diminished Nalbandian's already slim chances of qualifying for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. (AP)



Topics : Tennis
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