Tennis-Nalbandian sets up Cilic clash in Queen's final

Reuters

Sat, 16 Jun 20:29:00 2012

David Nalbandian reached his first grasscourt final since losing to Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2002 when he ended Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov's run in the semi-finals of the Queen's Club tournament on Saturday.

The Argentine beat 21-year-old Dimitrov 6-4 6-4 and will play Marin Cilic in Sunday's final after the Croat overcame American Sam Querrey, the 2010 champion at Queen's, 6-3 3-6 6-3.

"He's a tough player," Nalbandian said of sixth seed Cilic. "We have played a few times.

"I know he has a good serve but I think I'm playing good. I'm in good shape and let's see what happens."

Both players struggled to hit the high notes in their semi-finals which were affected by gusting winds in west London that made serving difficult.

Nalbandian, seeded 10th here, and Cilic last met in a feisty five-set Davis Cup match in Buenos Aires in April when the Croat registered his only victory in five attempts over the former world number three.

Cilic remembers how the 30-year-old Nalbandian used to try to unsettle him when he was first making his way in the game.

"I know when I played him first time it was actually my first live Davis Cup rubber in 2006," Cilic told reporters.

"He was ranked number four. I was 17 years old. He was pretty intimidating, having those few tricks of his.

"(When you are) warming up he just hits the ball a little harder, trying to show he can accelerate and push you a little bit to become more nervous.

"But now it's different. When you are at that age it's not easy."

Nalbandian has suffered the most from the poor English weather this week, having had his first-round match postponed on Monday and being forced to play twice in one day on Friday.

"I was supposed to play Monday, I didn't," he said. "So it was a really tricky week. It wasn't easy but unfortunately that's the way it is."

 

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