Despite winning one small ATP title in 2006, David Nalbandian spent the entire year in the top ten, buoyed by the 2005 Masters Cup title and two significant results during said season. Losing in the semi-finals at the Australian Open, Miami, Rome, Roland Garros, Madrid and the Masters Cup, David was unable to take that extra step and fight for notable titles in 2006.
David started the following season as a world number one. 8 but did not perform as a top 10 competitor for most of the year. The Argentine had under-20 wins after the US Open and was hoping to do better in the last season’s tournaments.
Instead of chasing 30th at the end of the year, the Argentine found his best tennis to beat the Masters 1000 indoor tournaments in Madrid and Paris. Nalbandian scored five wins over Federer, Nadal and Djokovic and returned to the top ten to finish the year in the Elite Group!
With only one quarter-final ahead of Madrid, David returned to the Spanish capital excited to continue where he left off in previous seasons, playing for the title in 2004 and the semi-finals in the next two editions. Hungry for more, Nalbandian knocked out Thomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal to advance to the Madrid semi-finals for the fourth time in a row.
He faced Argentine Novak Djokovic on October 20 and scored a 6-4, 7-6 victory in one hour and 45 minutes to qualify for the title match against Roger Federer. David saved two break points to keep his serve intact and increase pressure on the other side with five break points.
Novak did a good job defending four of those, suffering one break in the first set and staying on par with the opponent in the second set before falling in the tiebreak. Thus, the young Serbian missed an opportunity to fight for the third Masters 1000 title in his brilliant season.
David Nalbandian defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2007 Madrid semi-finals.
David had more winners and fewer fouls, imposing his shots against one of the world’s best soccer players and building confidence in the title match against the opponent who ousted him in the semi-finals a year ago.
It was a shaky start for the 20-year-old. He blocked a few break points in the first game with the serve winners and brought them home to avoid an early setback. He couldn’t repeat it in the third game when David broke at the age of 15 thanks to a forehand from the young player.
Nalbandian hit four winners in the fourth inning to open a 3-1 gap and settle into a fine rhythm. With poor body language and no speed, Novak had to play against as many ball-breaking opportunities in game five. He fended them off with two serve winners and took them home with a volleyball goal to remain within a one-break deficit.
This gave him some energy for the next match, and created his first breaking point. David saved it with a serve winner and landed two more to seal the match at home and lead 4-2. The Argentine scored three winners in the eighth game and concluded the first half of the match with three winners in the tenth with a score of 6-4 after 44 minutes, and is looking for more of the same in the rest of the confrontation.
Novak had to raise his level, and began to play better in service games in the second set. He stayed on an equal footing with David and created a set point with a forehand down the winner’s streak at 6-5. Nalbandian denied it with a strong attack and made the decisive move to break the tie.
The Argentine grabbed a small break on the first point and put in a backhand kick to gain a 4-1 advantage. The Serbian made a double mistake on the eighth point and faced four points from the match. David converted the third goal with a 6-4 serve winner to advance to the final and set Roger Federer against.