Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Teeny Bopper; Nalbandian Follows Andy Win with Hard Lesson for the 19-Year-Old French Starlet

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Teeny Bopper; Nalbandian Follows Andy Win with Hard Lesson for the 19-Year-Old French Starlet

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

NO LONGER the pantomime villain but still into toddler bashing, David Nalbandian went marching on at Wimbledon today. Not content with breaking one teenager's heart, the conqueror of Andy Murray taught another precocious youngster a brutal lesson as he powered into the quarterfinals.

Murray may be British tennis's next big thing but Richard Gasquet, at 19, is already considered the real deal in France, a Wimbledon champion in the making. Not yet, though. Nalbandian, playing at a vastly superior level to his curate's egg of a performance against Murray, ensured the phenomenon would have to wait his turn as he ground out a straight sets victory 6-4, 7-6, 6-0 in their fourth-round clash.

The Argentine was public enemy number one on Centre Court on Saturday when a nation willed the 2002 finalist to do the decent thing and completely disintegrate against our 18-year-old starlet Murray after he went two sets down. Naturally, the opposite happened and the No18 seed quite ruined the fairytale as the young Scot wilted physically.

This time on Court 2 where the atmosphere was funereal compared to Saturday's mania, Nalbandian, who at 23 is hardly a wizened veteran himself, seemed much more at ease this time. From the start, Nalbandian effectively dictated proceedings against the youngster who, along with Rafael Nadal, is supposed to represent the game's exciting fresh face.

Nalbandian knew he was likely to find it tougher to outlast Gasquet than Murray. The youngest man left in the tournament is physically stronger and better conditioned than Murray and has already won his first ATP title, having triumphed in Nottingham the other week on his birthday.

Yet unlike Murray, he ended up capitulating not through lack of fitness but because Nalbandian simply wore his spirit down with the thumping accuracy and quality of his groundstrokes. …

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