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Nalbandian beats Murray in Paris

Andy Murray
Murray will next head to Shanghai as the season ends with the Masters Cup

Andy Murray's superb run of form came to an end with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 defeat by defending champion David Nalbandian in the Paris Masters quarter-finals.

The Briton, 21, went into the match as the in-form player on tour, aiming for a record third straight Masters title after 14 consecutive wins.

But after a break of serve apiece, Nalbandian dominated the tie-break and took it with a sweeping forehand pass.

And the Argentine was in great form as he broke four times in the second set.

Nalbandian remains one of the few leading players that Murray has yet to beat, with the Argentine winning their only previous encounter at Wimbledon in 2005.

After tournament victories in Cincinnati, Madrid and St Petersburg, and with a first Grand Slam final at the US Open in between, Murray had finally begun to show signs of a dip in form this week.

The Scot was below his best in beating Fernando Verdasco on Thursday and came up short against a rejuvenated Nalbandian.

"It was obviously a shame that I lost," Murray told BBC Sport after the match.

"But at least it wasn't a bad performance or against a player I was really expecting to beat [easily].

"It was a tough match today but he played really well.

"The one thing I didn't do, that I have done well in the last few weeks, is to serve well. The [first serve] percentage wasn't as high as it has been."

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Seeded eighth, former Wimbledon finalist Nalbandian has struggled for much of 2008 but has often performed well in the closing weeks of the season and looks to be rediscovering his best form again.

"I played almost perfect," he said. "I think I return really well and that's important indoors."

Nalbandian will face Nikolay Davydenko in the last four after Rafael Nadal pulled out with a knee injury, while second seed Roger Federer earlier withdrew ahead of his match with James Blake because of a stiff back.

Blake will next face France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Andy Roddick 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in the evening match in Paris.

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see also
Murray begins strongly in Paris
30 Oct 08 |  Tennis


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