Former world number three David Nalbandian showed he can still match it with the best in the world after he defeated the 13th seed Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Friday (6 August) to advance to the semi finals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.
The Argentine, who has been plagued with injuries, will meet the fourth seed Marin Cilic in the semis after the Croatia knocked out Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in his quarter final.
A former Wimbledon finalist, David Nalbandian, who had dropped to 117th in the world following 18 months that have been dominated by injuries took on the 13th seed Giles Simon of France in the quarterfinals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Friday in Washington DC.
Playing in his first ATP tour event since April, due to hip and hamstring injuries, the Argentine did not start well and lost his serve in the second game.
The 25-year old Frenchman, who defeated No. 2-seed Andy Roddick in the previous game, controlled the set with powerful forehands like this one and would go on to take the first set comfortably 6-3.
The former world number three dropped the first game of the second set but to his credit he bounced straight back as Nalbandian broke the 13th seed by showing his strength from the baseline.
Nalbandian, who has missed the past six Grand Slam events with injuries, dominated the rest of the set winning five of the next six games to even the match up at one set apiece. Attempting to reach his first semi final in 18 months, the 28-year-old controlled the final set serving an Ace to take the match over a shell shocked Simon, who would have thought he was cruising to victory after the ease he won the opening set.
Nalbandian's opponent in the semi finals would be the winner of the Marin Cilic and Janko Tipsarevic match.
The number four seed, Cilic came into the match in Washington with a 4-0 head-to-head series advantage over the world number 41 from Serbia. But Tipsarevic was proving that he was not going to be a push over as he held his own against the world number 13 with backhand winners like this down the line, which eventually forced the opening set into a tie breaker.
Cilic, who made the semi finals at the Australian Open this year, held his nerve in the tiebreaker and took the opening set 7-6 (4). With both players tied at three games apiece in second set, the seventh game proved to be a costly one for Tipsarevic.
The Croatian kept his opponent on the move when the break point presented itself and finally Tipsarevic run out of steam and was unable to return Cilic's forehand giving the fourth seed the crucial break.
The winner of five career titles made no mistake and held his remaining service games and finished the match with an Ace 7-6 (4), 6-4 to set up a semi final showdown against Nalbandian on Saturday night.
Results Friday from Legg Mason Classic: (seedings in brackets)
Xavier Malisse, Belgium, def. Tomas Berdych (1), Czech Republic, 64, 3-6, 6-2.
Marcos Baghdatis (8), Cyprus, def. Fernando Verdasco (3), Spain, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
David Nalbandian, Argentina, def. Gilles Simon (13), France, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Marin Cilic (4), Croatia, def. Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia, 7-6 (4), 6-4. AP