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Nalbandian wins Sao Paulo opener, Chardy falls
Oft-injured former world No. 3 David Nalbandian posted an opening-round victory Wednesday at the clay-court Brasil Open.
The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up, who’s playing doubles with former No. 1 great Rafael Nadal this week, outlasted Chilean qualifier Jorge Aguilar 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
The 31-year-old Nalbandian’s second-round opponent will be unheralded fellow Argentine Guido Pella.
Wednesday’s lone second-round bout of the day also produced the biggest upset thus far of the tournament, with Argentine lucky loser Martin Alund edging fourth-seeded Jeremy Chardy after besting the Frenchman in a third-set tiebreaker.
Alund took advantage of 16 double faults from Chardy to hang on for a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) decision in a match that lasted two hours and 36 minutes.
In other first-round action, Brazilian qualifier Joao Souza got past Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6 (8-6), retired, and Spain’s Albert Montanes, playing in his 10th Brasil Open, handled Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-4. Souza is rewarded with a second-round match against perhaps the greatest clay-court player of all-time — Nadal — on Thursday.
Nadal, the top seed, of course, in Sao Paulo, was a shocking loser at the hands of Argentine Horacio Zeballos in last week’s final in Vina Del Mar, Chile. It marked his first action in seven months after being sidelined with a knee injury.
Zeballos will not capture his second ATP World Tour title this week, as he succumbed to Chilean qualifier Paul Capdeville, 6-7 (5-7), 6-0, 3-0, retired, in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
This week’s second seed is two-time reigning champion Nicolas Almagro, who beat Italian Filippo Volandri in last year’s finale here and also captured this event in Costa do Sauipe in 2008 and 2011.
Almagro will meet Capdeville on Thursday.
The 2013 Brasil Open titlist will earn $82,300.