Nalbandian savours his victory in Washington
David Nalbandian completed a successful comeback from injury by beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in the final of the Legg Mason Classic in Washington.
The Argentine, 28, broke Baghdatis four times in his first seven service games on his way to winning the title.
Playing in his first event since April, he was in dominant form all week, dropping just one set.
Nalbandian becomes the first player ranked outside the top 100 to win an ATP Tour title this year.
The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up has seen his world ranking fall to 117 after undergoing hip surgery and then a sustaining a hamstring injury.
But he will jump back into the top 100 after winning his 11th career title - his first on US soil - and the first anywhere since January 2009.
"We passed very tough moments in the last year-and-a-half with the surgery," Nalbandian said.
"We have to enjoy this moment. It's tough to come back and play this well. Now we have to keep going."
With Cypriot eighth seed Baghdatis landing only 39% of his first serves in the opening set, Nalbandian took it with ease.
A tighter second set went to a tie-break, but the Argentine won the first five points to give world number 25 Baghdatis a mountain to climb.
The former Australian Open runner-up was left to rue converting only two of his 11 break-point opportunities against an opponent he had beaten in three out of four previous meetings.
"He's a pain when he plays good," Baghdatis said of Nalbandian. "He played really good. Well done David. I'm glad you came back, and I hope you have a great year."
Nalbandian's win in Washington is the third straight title for an Argentine, following consecutive tournament wins by his compatriot Juan Martin Del Potro.