Nalbandian fights mental battle to win Barcelona opener

April 30th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by admin  

Barcelona, April 30 (DPA) David Nalbandian made a shaky start at the Barcelona Open before eventually overcoming his demons with a win over a fellow Argentine. The third seed managed a tortured 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 second-round victory against compatriot Agustin Calleri, playing the event for the eighth time here Tuesday.

“I’ve really got to lift my game if I want to get any further,” said the frustrated winner. “I’m not happy at all with my match.

“It was windy and it’s always tough to play a Davis Cup teammate.”

Number seven Andy Murray, who learnt his clay-court tennis in the area, lost listlessly to Croatian Mario Ancic, exiting his opening match 6-4, 6-4.

Murray only took a late wild card and was watched by Barcelona-born temporary clay-season coach Alex Corretja.

But the 20-year-old admitted he was short on desire in the contest.

“I was flat at the start, but my priority is to train for Rome and Hamburg. I wanted to continue form last week, but (playing here) is not the be-all and end-all.

“I didn’t get that fired up. I was going to be her practising partner anyway, so I had hoped to get a few matches.”

Murray has won only once in three Barcelona appearances.

Former French Open finalist Guillermo Coria was humbled in only his third appearance on the ATP this season, taking a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili.

But the 2004 French Open runner-up to fellow-Argentine Gaston Gaudio was not bitter after failing to capitalize on a 4-2 lead in the final set against his 138th-ranked Georgian-born Russian opponent.

“I must be more humble, to accept where I am in the game,” said the number 811 who four years ago stood third in the world. “Before, I didn’t enjoy my tennis. But it’s different now.”

The first-round defeat, after nine double faults in 2 hours 15 minutes, meant more heartbreak for Coria. But the South American at age 26 has learnt to deal with his disappointment.

“I’ve tried with many psychologists, but they haven’t found the answer,” he said of his long-term slump. “It has to come from inside myself.”

The player who lost his ATP ranking last October after falling to 1,496, is still far from fit after 2007 shoulder surgery which derailed his career.

Coria has won only one match, on clay in Brazil in February, his last event save a pair of lower-level Challengers.

Spanish seeds advanced without difficulty as their opponents failed to finish.

Number 10 Nicolas Almagro advanced when Serb Viktor Troicki quit trailing 6-2. Feliciano Lopez, the number 16, beat Jose Acasuso.

Three-time winner Rafael Nadal will open later Wednesday against Italian Potito Starace, who booked his place over Australian Peter Luczak 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.

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