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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Davydenko Faces Tough Week in Paris

ReutersDavydenko in Paris on Monday
PARIS -- If Nikolai Davydenko is going to win his first Grand Slam title next Sunday at Roland Garros, he will have to do it the hard way.

After battling to a grueling victory over Argentina's David Nalbandian to reach the quarterfinals, the fourth seed is facing another relentless South American in Guillermo Canas and then may have to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"If I win all those matches I would probably quit tennis," Davydenko, who turned 26 on Saturday, told reporters Sunday after an enthralling 6-3, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 victory on center court.

"From Nalbandian, then Canas and then Federer. It's more running for sure. I played Nadal in Rome. We only played three sets and it took three hours and 40 minutes.

"If I play five I need to start at 11 in the morning and finish at nine in the evening!"

Standing just 1.78 meters and weighing 70 kilograms, Davydenko looks like he could be overpowered, but his rapier groundstrokes and quick feet allow him to mix it with the sluggers.

His record speaks for itself. He was a semifinalist here in 2005 when he lost to the later-banned Mariano Puerta and he has reached the quarterfinals in five of his last six appearances at Grand Slam tournaments.

He looked to be in danger as the grizzled Nalbandian, who defeated him here at the last eight stage last year, raised his game to come back from losing the first two sets and then was serving at 5-4 in the fourth with Davydenko tiring.

The Russian conjured two staggering passes to break serve, however, then held off three break points at 5-5. An inspired tiebreak sealed victory, but his legs will ache in the morning after covering every inch of red dust to subdue Nalbandian.

"The tiebreak was my last chance to win the match because if I lose the tiebreak, my power was going," he said. "Nalbandian is tougher and tougher in a fifth set."

Asked about the prospect of 15 more sets, Davydenko said: "I need to win in three sets every match! Look at me, I'm already 70 kilos. How many kilos will I lose after five-set matches? I would be down to 40 by then."