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Roger plays in Shanghai - and wins

13.11.2005 | Tennis

«This is one of the most important matches of my career. I mean, a few weeks ago I needed crutches and now I'm already back out there and winning.» For much of his match against David Nalbandian, Roger looked like a man who had not played in six weeks. But at the most important time, he looked like Roger Federer.

The world No. 1 and two-time defending champion rallied from a break down in the decisive set to beat the Argentine Nalbandian, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, on Sunday in the opening match of the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.

The top seed at the $4.45 million indoor event, Roger extended his winning streak to 32 matches since a loss to Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals. He improved to 78-3 this year and could tie John McEnroe's single-season winning percentage record, set during an 82-3 campaign in 1984, were he to win his final two Red Group matches, the semifinal and the final.

Roger had missed six weeks of action since injuring his right ankle in practice. He wore a black brace on the ankle in this one, his first match since winning his 11th title of the year at Bangkok on October 2.

After winning the final four games of the second set, Nalbandian broke Roger for a 3-1 lead in the third. The eighth-seeded Argentine had a 40-30 lead on his serve in the fifth game before Roger broke back, held, broke again and held for a 5-3 lead. Nalbandian held in the ninth game before Roger closed out the match on serve to improve to 10-0 in round-robin matches in this event, where he is 14-1 overall.

Nalbandian, who was returning to the event after a one-year absence, was the last player to enter the draw, taking the place of American Andy Roddick, who withdrew on Wednesday with a back injury. Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who won this event between 2001-02, also dropped out due to the upcoming birth of his first child.

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11/14/2005 | 12:49 AM
it was a bit unusual to see you with an ankle brace.....but you still played great!!!

u had me scared at some points roger......but you played great!!!! congrats on your first win leading up to another title!!!

will be watching all the fun games on
11/14/2005 | 12:25 AM
It it was a very interesting match againest Nalbandian. Congrats. And the best of luck to you in you next match.
11/14/2005 | 12:21 AM
It it was a very interesting match againest Nalbandian. Congrats. And the best of luck to you in you next match.
11/14/2005 | 12:16 AM
Well, Roger J'm wery suprised.J'm sorry to say but J thought that you couldn't make it.Quess J was wrong.J'm wery happy for you and J have change my opinion.J know that there is a lot of presion above your head but you should not be wery conserned.With t
11/13/2005 | 11:35 PM
Congrats Roger! I am happy to here you won!
11/13/2005 | 11:28 PM
GREAT!!!!!!! Roger, you're the best
11/13/2005 | 11:25 PM
wahoo!! congratulations roger! goodluck in your next match and hopefully you have gained some match play and confidence to make it a quick one!!
11/13/2005 | 10:50 PM
Congrats, Roger. Supergood that you play again. Good luck in the next round.

11/13/2005 | 10:03 PM
Dear Roger,

Welcome back! Tennis is not tennis when you're not playing it!! I was only able to handle watching the first set (I got too nervous) but it was worth every minute to see that look on your face after you hit the winner on the way to breaki
11/13/2005 | 09:36 PM
it was a frickin' brilliant match and I didn't doubt at all that you would come back and own the match. it was so fantastic, i truly felt like i was watching art. you are so damn good, rogi. i can't wait to watch some more!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo!