Roger Federer on his first win over David Nalbandian: 'It feels good'

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Roger Federer on his first win over David Nalbandian: 'It feels good'

Roger Federer lost realistic chances to finish the season as the year-end no. 1 in 2003 following early losses in Basel and Paris. The Swiss headed to the Masters Cup in Houston, eager to improve his form and fight for notable points and title.

Federer battled against the rivals he had never beaten before in the opening two matches, and he accepted that challenge in style. In the first clash, Roger ousted the veteran Andre Agassi 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 after fending off two match points in the deciding set.

Facing another rival against whom he had a negative score, Federer played on a high level to topple David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-0 and remain perfect in their group. The Swiss had the upper hand from start to finish, controlling the pace on serve and return and ousting the Argentine for the first time in six encounters on the Tour.

Roger Federer scored his first victory over David Nalbandian at the 2003 Masters Cup.

"I have been hoping to beat David at some point; I did that today, and I'm happy. He did not play as well as in the previous matches against me, but I also changed the approach and fixed a few things.

I'm in a good position to win the group, feeling great after two encounters, like in Shanghai last year. I'm ready for my third match. I did not make too many errors today; still, my serve was not that good. It makes the result even more surprising without my initial shot.

David is one of the best returners out there, but he could not find his rhythm in this one. I took advantage of that. I like the surface; you can hit flat shots, slices, kick, rush to the net. I did not feel comfortable against Nalbandian from the baseline in the past; that's why I played serve & volley.

Today, I decided to stay back and attack after two or three strokes. That worked fine for me, with his returns landing short most of the time. I was patient and aggressive at the same time, avoiding the long rallies. After the US Open, many people talked about this rivalry, and I knew I was not far from his pace. It feels good to beat him for the first time and get that off my back," Roger Federer said.