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STOCKHOLM, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Argentine David Nalbandian held his nerve to beat Swede Robin Soderling 6-2 5-7 6-3 on Sunday and win the Stockholm Open in his first appearance at the tournament.
It was the ninth career win for Nalbandian, who goes to the Madrid Masters on Monday as the defending champion.
“It was a great final, we both played a good match,” Nalbandian told Swedish television SVT in a courtside interview.
“I played great all week, almost perfect every match here. I lost a set today but that’s part of the game.”
With his fine all-court game, the world number seven outclassed the home hope in the first set.
He broke Soderling in the opening game on a questionable call by the umpire and then took advantage of his opponent’s ensuing irritation, breaking him for a 3-0 lead.
After holding serve to grab the first set 6-2, Nalbandian broke the Swede again in the second for a 3-1 lead, only to see parts of his game crumble.
Leading 4-2, Nalbandian allowed Soderling back into the match as the Swede raised his game, breaking back and grabbing three consecutive games to 5-4.
Down 6-5, Nalbandian produced a backhand mistake to allow the Swede to break him again for the set.
Nalbandian broke for a 4-3 lead in the third set and outplayed Soderling from the baseline for the rest of the match.
“It was tough. I had a chance to finish it off in the second set but I couldn’t make it. In the third it was tight for both of us,” added the Argentine, whose only previous title of the year came on home ground in Buenos Aires in February. “(But) when I got the break, everything worked perfect for me.”
Reporting by Oliver Grassman; Editing by Clare Fallon