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Posted at 9:37 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Nalbandian outlasts Hewitt in five sets at Australian Open

By Cindy Boren

David Nalbanian finishes off Lleyton Hewitt. (AFP)

It took five sets and almost five hours, but David Nalbandian beat Lleyton Hewitt, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), 9-7, in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Both players were cramping in the the renewal of a latent rivalry that began when Hewitt beat Nalbandian in the 2002 Wimbledon final and escalated when the two intentionally bumped each other on a changeover in a 2005 Australian Open quarterfinal. After Hewitt's five-set victory in 2005, Nalbandian claimed Hewitt was "not a gentleman" and Hewitt said Nalbandian was "not the cleanest guy."

This time the two players had no energy for that.

"It was a very tough first round, we both know it. Every time we play it's long matches, tough ones. He's a real fighter," Nalbandian said. "He played unbelievable. It's amazing playing with him in a full stadium, here in Australia. We both had a lot of chances. I was serving for the match, it was that kind of match nobody can forget. Cramping was around all the time. He was too tired as well. I played the two match points, I play incredible, serve and volley, it was amazing, and then after that the match was for both. I can win, I can lose, the match was very close."

Earlier, Rafael Nadal beat Marcos Daniel, 6-0, 5-0, with Daniel retiring because of a knee injury. Andy Murray advanced with a 6-3, 6-1, 4-2 victory over Karol Beck, who went out with a shoulder injury.

By Cindy Boren  | January 18, 2011; 9:37 AM ET
Categories:  Tennis  
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Tennis rage!

Posted by: SMACK1 | January 18, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

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