Wednesday, January 21, 2009

David loses to Lu

In a hard fought five-setter, David has been edged out of the Australian Open by Lu Yen-Hsun of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) in 3hr 55mns, reaching a score of 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 4-6, 2-6. As the stats reveal, Lu was simply the better player both on serve and in returning.

1st serve %50%63%
1st serve points won66%71%
2nd serve points won51%53%
break points won6/178/14

There was continuing irritation from David, leading again to crowd disfavour. However, near the end, irritation gave way to simple straightforward pain.

Possibly the lowest point in the match came when David challenged a call in the fifth set, was shown wrong by HawkEye, and yet he stubbornly insisted that it was HawkEye that was wrong. There is no doubt that David is in need of the right kind of coach to coax him out of this kind of attitude.

Update 22jan09: Here are media reports on the match.

SMH/AAP: Nalbandian in shock defeat
Nalbandian said he did not feel he played particularly badly, but was surprised by how well Lu performed.

"I never saw him before, but I know that he played some good tennis," he said.

"I think he just played great today, better than me and that was enough to get the victory."

SMH/Linda Pearce: Sydney win a false dawn as night falls on Nalbandian

Update 22jan09: Match time and stats above were originally based on what the AO website provided just after the match. These have been updated since and consequently corrected here.

Update 9feb09: As reported at David's own website:
Nalbandian paid the price for his physical debilitation due to his participation in Sydney, the tournament he won last week.

(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Monday, January 19, 2009

David grumbles through

In a messy match with uneven play from both contestants and much grumbling over questionable line calls, David makes his way through to the second round of the Australian Open. In 2hr 36mn and four sets, the score ended up at 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and looking far far easier than it was in reality due to many deuce games and turns of tide. David was rarely fully dominant but he played just a bit better and managed to scrape through.

David was uncharacteristically irritable throughout the match, clearly missing the advantages of the HawkEye challenge system. Gicquel was also upset but managed to win the favour of the crowd. This will have been a demoralizing experience for David and we hope he will have time to recover his composure and settle in better at this bigger tournament.

It was unfortunate also that he was made to play so soon after his win at the Sydney tournament but his Argentine rival, Juan Martin del Potro, was also put through this inconvenience and yet managed a smooth straight sets victory in the first round.

David next plays Lu Yen-Hsun of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) who has only once before reached the 2nd round in 5 attendances at this slam. Hopefully this will prove to be a less tense match than tonight.

Photos (click to enlarge).

(Paul Crock/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

SMH/AAP: David "nearly man" ?

I found today that the Sydney Morning Herald has an article (via AAP) on David titled Nearly man Nalbandian philosophical about his unwanted title.

I've started to take an interest in tracking media articles (especially local ones here in Australia) relating to David. This one is a must to take note of, not because it's particularly favourable or unfavourable, kind or cruel, but because it is so thoroughly inane. It takes a word or two here and there out of David's post-victory interview and turns it into David's authoritative "answer" as to why he's never won a grand slam before. And given the "nearly man" of the title (and David's association with Lucas Arnold Ker) I kept expecting the article to reveal some awful truth to the effect that David is lacking some essential portion of male anatomy. This article is so silly that it warrants being reproduced in full.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN dark horse David Nalbandian has finally revealed the reason behind his nagging inability to land an elusive grand slam title.

Renowned as one of the toughest competitors on the ATP Tour, Nalbandian has also carried the dubious tag of best player without a major title since the day he lost the Wimbledon final to Lleyton Hewitt as a 20-year-old in 2002.

It is scant consolation to the Argentine that Scot Andy Murray has since assumed that unwanted title with a string of wins over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in recent months.

Along with Federer, Nadal, defending champion Novak Djokovic and 2005 Open winner Marat Safin, Nalbandian is one of only five players on tour with semi-final experience at all four majors and again looms as a Melbourne Park title threat following his weekend triumph at the Sydney International.

The Argentine admitted he never possessed the mental and physical fortitude to go the distance at a slam.

"It's not easy. It's tough. I was close a few times, or a lot of times, and I never could make it," Nalbandian said after edging Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-7 (9-11), 6-2 in the Sydney International final.

"It's not easy to be physically, mentally and with confidence to win a grand slam. There are two weeks playing with a lot of good players. Always I try. Why I didn't win it? I don't know.

"Maybe [I was] unlucky some ones and maybe the other ones the other player is playing better than me.

"The game is like this, but I'm going to keep fighting, so I don't know if it's going to be this one or next one but I always arrive at a grand slam with a lot of confidence or believing that I can win it. So this one is going to be one of them, and I want to try."

Until he breaks through, the world No.11 will remain haunted by his gut-wrenching semi-final loss in Melbourne to Marcos Baghdatis in 2006, when he blew a two-set lead and twice squandered service breaks in the fifth set as a berth in the final beckoned.

He also wasted two match points against the eventual champion, Andy Roddick, in the 2003 US Open semi-finals.

For all his painful near misses, though, the 27-year-old continues to believe. "I still have the same goals: the grand slams and Davis Cup. So nothing change," he said.

The 10th seed will open his 2009 campaign tonight against Frenchman Marc Gicquel, and said he was feeling optimistic after a "positive week" in Sydney.

He swept past Michael Llodra, four-time Sydney champion Hewitt and Richard Gasquet without dropping a set before overcoming a second-set collapse in the final against Nieminen.

"I feel that I'm going to arrive in Melbourne with a lot of confidence," he said. "I mean, winning a tournament before is almost perfect."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

ABC/Reuters: grit and determination

The ABC/Reuters report of last night's victory, Nalbandian clinches Sydney title, writes of David's "grit and determination" and much else besides:
David Nalbandian made his Australian Open credentials clear to all concerned on Saturday night by swiping the Sydney International title.

Certainly his final opponent Jarkko Nieminen was left in no doubt as to the burly Argentine's determination as Nalbandian ground out a gutsy 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 win on a chilly night under floodlights.

The second set was tight but in essence the gulf in class between the world number 11 and his Finnish opponent was vast for much of the clash.

The dark-shirted Nalbandian was all gritted teeth and clenched fist as he took his 10th career title from 20 finals.

Nieminen, who beat world number three Novak Djokovic on Friday, was simply unable to keep up with the Argentine's viciously punched groundstrokes and superior courtcraft.

The only slip Nalbandian made was when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set he allowed his focus to blur and was broken to love.

That momentary momentum shift buoyed Nieminen - or Nemo as the Sydney crowd affectionately branded him - and he held three set points at 6-5 but Nalbandian fought back to force a tiebreak.

Nieminen needed six more in the tiebreak before finally levelling the match but Nalbandian eased into the driving seat once again in the third.

The tennis was not always pretty and Nalbandian showed more than his fair share of nerves but that was matched by grit and determination as he closed out the match on his second championship point with a smash.

Article caption: David Nalbandian will go into the Australian Open full of confidence after victory in Sydney. (Getty Images: Matt King)

David Wins Sydney!

(Reuters Pictures)

David has won the title at Sydney, beating Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-2. It's his tenth title on the ATP tour and the first one on an outdoor hardcourt, his previous titles all having come either on clay, or on indoor courts. David remains unbeaten in the new season and will now head on to the Australian Open, where he'll play his first match already on Monday.

The final was the eleventh meeting between David and Nieminen and most of their matches in the past had been very tight and hard-fought battles. However, things looked be very different with this match - at first. After struggling to hold his very first service game (and saving two break points), David went on to play nearly flawless tennis. He made an amazing 79% of first serves in that set and dictated most of the rallies with deep and heavy groundstrokes. His great angles and constant changes of direction made it impossible for Nieminen to find any kind of rhythm. After breaking Nieminen's serve in what I believe was the sixth game, David carried the break comfortably through the set and finally served it out easily to take the first 6-3.

At the beginning of the second set, David immediately broke Nieminen again and consolidated the break to go up 2-0. At this point of the match, David seemed utterly dominant and in complete control of the match. But still, this is when the errors started creeping into his game. Maybe he felt a little too secure, a bit too confident. In any case, his first serve now started to let him down (only 44% in set 2) and also his forehand. Which mostly seemed to be the result of his increasingly lazy footwork. That spark he had in the first set was gone but he still managed to hold his serve (and even had the chance to go up a double break at 4-2) until at 5-4, he had the chance to serve for the match. Already in his previous matches this week David had displayed a somewhat alarming tendency to get broken when serving for the set or the match, for example getting broken to love when trying to serve out the match against Hewitt. - And that is precisely what happened again at that moment. David played a disastrous game without any first serves but four unforced errors in a row, and they were on serve again. After Nieminen held to make it 6-5, David again struggled to hold his serve but eventually scraped through after saving 3 set points. The following tiebreak was extremely nervy from both, with neither player able to win a point on his serve at first (until 4-4 if I remember correctly). By the time they reached 9-9, David had saved a couple more set points and those many missed chances seemed to be getting to Nieminen. But then came the point that effectively cost David the set: instead of taking what would've been a fairly easy volley, he let the ball from Nieminen pass - and it caught a bit of the line. Nieminen converted the resulting set point and took the second 7-6(9).

Despite all of this drama, David kept his composure and slowly but steadily played better again as the third set began. His first serve percentage stayed low (47%) and he didn't play anywhere near as well as he did at the start of the match. But it was enough... After staying on serve until 2-1, there were 3 breaks in a row, 2 of which David managed against Nieminen's serve, going up 4-2. It was around this time that Nieminen not only began to show signs of tiredness but also seemed to have problems with his legs. David's following service game was shaky again and saw him face another break point. But he managed to pull through and at 5-2, Nieminen now had to serve to stay in the match. He quickly went down 15-40, giving David 2 match points. And finally, after 2 hours and 16 minutes, David converted the second with an easy smash.

And so a great week for David at Sydney comes to its end. It has been a while since he has had such a successful preparation for a Grand Slam. On the other hand, I can only hope that those horrible serve games when serving for the set or the match were just accidents. And not a trend for the future...
But the most important thing is - he won!

David's press conference after the match (transcript).

Match Stats...
1st serve: 55%
Aces: 6
DFs: 4
BP conversion: 5/11
Points won on 1st serve: 75%
Points won on 2nd serve: 45%
UEs: 56

(Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

(Rob Griffith/AP Photo)

(Reuters Images)

(Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday, January 16, 2009

ABC/AFP: David's authoritative win

ABC News/AFP reports on David's match under Nalbandian, Nieminen reach Sydney decider:
Nalbandian hammered Gasquet 6-4, 6-3 to retain his unbeaten record over the Frenchman.


The Argentine world number 11 stretched his unbeaten record over Gasquet to seven matches with an authoritative win in 74 minutes.


"I've just been improving game by game, match by match," Nalbandian said.

"I felt today I played much better than the first one and yesterday, so it looks like every day I have more feeling on the ball and on the game.

"So it's good playing a few matches and to be in the final here."


"I don't think I served good all the match," Nalbandian said.

"In the important moments or important points I make a good serve, (but) for the rest I think I have to serve a little bit better."

ABC caption: David Nalbandian hammers a forehand against Richard Gasquet. (Getty Images: Matt King)

Gasquet overwhelmed once again

In a somewhat desultory performance today, Frenchman Richard Gasquet increased his head-to-head losses against David to a 7-0 tally. In a match lasting 74mins, David prevailed 6-4, 6-3.

David was not playing at his best, especially in terms of his serve but it was good enough to do the job on the day. Gasquet's main failing was his 2nd serve from which he won only 33% points (compared to David's solid 59%).

1st serve %44%55%
1st serve points won83%72%
2nd serve points won59%33%
break points won4/71/1

David now progresses to the final of this tournament.

(Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

(Reuters Pictures)

(Rob Griffith/AP Photo)

(Rick Rycroft/AP Photo)

(Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

AO Draw

The AO draw is out and David's quarter contains Novak Djokovic [3], Andy Roddick [7], and Robin Soderling [16] among the top seeds. David is seeded 10. His immediate opponents are as follows:

Tommy Robredo ESP (21) v Bobby Reynolds USA
Alberto Martin ESP v Viktor Troicki SRB

Thomaz Bellucci BRA v Yen-Hsun Lu TPE
Marc Gicquel FRA v David Nalbandian ARG (10)

Tommy Robredo, then, is the first seed that David might face, with Andy Roddick and Philipp Kohlschreiber [32] in the adjoining sector. This appears to be a comfortable draw for David with no unpleasant surprises. And he might need an easy start if he continues to progress in the Sydney tournament, leaving him less time to practice in and acclimatize to Melbourne.

ABC News report

From the ABC News report of the match, Nalbandian downs Hewitt to reach Sydney semis:
The Argentine defeated Hewitt in straight sets, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5.

The tournament fourth seed dominated with his groundstrokes from the back court as he parcelled up a win over the former world number one in one hour and 48 minutes.


Nalbandian was in control of the majority of his match with Hewitt.

He broke the Hewitt [serve] twice in both sets, but double-faulted on break point as he served for the match at 5-4 in the second set after decisively winning the opening set tiebreaker seven points to three.

AAP photo from ABC News article

David sweeps Hewitt off court

With a 40 degree heat wave behind them but blustering winds against them, David and Lleyton fought a hard match but David prevailed 7-6(3) 7-5 to move into the Sydney tournament semi-final. There were some stunning, long rallies with amazing shots and also many disappointing errors from both sides. However, in the end, it was David who played just a little more consistently and, indeed, a little more maturely.

Looking at the stats, David maintained his good service form with 63% first serves in (with 7 aces to only 1 double fault) while Hewitt struggled with his serve, achieving only 47% first serves in (with only 3 aces to 4 double faults). Hewitt converted 3 of 6 break points while David converted 4 of 5.

David will now face Richard Gasquet in the semi-finals tomorrow, against whom he has yet to lose a match (6-0 head-to-head).

Update: The Sydney Morning Herald reported the match thus: Lleyton Hewitt out of Sydney tournament. The same paper had published an earlier article (before the match) about the rivalry: All's sweet as bitter rivals bury the hatchet for quarter

Update: Here is a transcript of David's post-match interview.

(Rob Griffith/AFP/Getty Images)

(Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tournament Director delighted

From the Medibank International website:
Four-time champion Lleyton Hewitt will face his toughest test of his Australian summer to date, when he takes on Argentine fourth seed David Nalbandian in a dream quarter final match up at the Medibank International Sydney on Thursday.

The pair, who have shared an intense rivalry throughout their careers, have played four times before, their last encounter being a fiery Davis Cup Quarter Final in 2005. Nalbandian accounted for the Australian in straight sets then, but Hewitt leads their overall head to head 3 to 1.

Tournament Organisers are thrilled that the dream match up tennis fans have been eagerly anticipating will take place on Ken Rosewall Arena at the Medibank International Sydney.

“You could not ask for a more exciting match than Hewitt versus Nalbandian,” Tournament Director Craig Watson said.

“Lleyton has already had two incredible matches this week and David is obviously in great form. Tennis fans have been waiting for a few years for this pair to face each other again and I am sure we will not be disappointed.”

source: Outstanding Thursday line up

David makes headlines via Hewitt

David has become front page news here in Sydney, courtesy of Lleyton Hewitt:

Hewitt to face his nemesis Nalbandian

Hewitt will meet David Nalbandian, his long-time Argentine sparring partner, in the quarter-finals after the fourth seed easily won his second round clash against Michael Llodra.

We Nalbandian fans are delighted that our opportunities to see David on the TV coverage are now guaranteed. May he be victorious once again!

(And Lleyton, we love you!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

David glides past Llodra

David has won his first singles match of the year with great ease, winning 6-1 6-3 against Frenchman Michael Llodra in the second round of the Sydney tournament.

Solid serving from David seems to have been a key to this success: he served 6 aces (to only 1 double fault) with 64% of 1st serves in and 79% of them won. Llodra lost the first set with a double fault while David won the second with a service game to love. He faced no break points and converted 4 of 8 break point opportunities to win convincingly in straight sets.

Update: David will next play Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the much anticipated re-match of the 2005 Davis Cup Quarterfinal tie.

David and Lucas lost their doubles match in a very tight three sets. They lost the first, won the second, were leading in the deciding tie-break but ended up going down 8-10 at that point. However, it was very close and encouraging for the future of this doubles teaming.

Update: A post-match interview is available at here.

(Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

First victory comes with Ker

David and Lucas won their doubles match 2-6 6-2 10-8 against Austrian pair Knowle/Melzer. The Argentine pair delivered one ace but five double faults in the first set and their game was inferior all round. They improved greatly in the second set with both teams delivering one ace and two double faults and with the Argentines achieving 86% of 1st serve points won as compared to only 57% for the Austrians. David and Lucas raced ahead to a 5-0 lead in the deciding tie-break until the Austrians rallied back to 6-6 before finally succumbing for a 10-8 result.

They will next face Polish pair and 4th seeds Mariusz FYRSTENBERG and Marcin MATKOWSKI in the quarter finals.

As reported at the ATP website, David had spent some of the previous day indulging one of his hobbies, his "need for speed".

source: Nalbandian Go-Karting

see also: Nalbandian’s need for speed @ Medibank International site

see also: video

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ready for Sydney

(Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

While David apparently enjoyed himself at the WTA Sydney Cocktail Party yesterday (where the picture above was taken) the draw is by now complete. Or rather, both of the draws because David will be playing doubles as well, together with Lucas Arnold Ker. Their first opponents will be the Austrian team Jürgen Melzer and Julian Knowle.

In singles, David's first opponent (round 2) will be decided in today's match between Michael Llodra and Denis Gremelmayr. David has never played against either of them before.

His first match, probably the doubles, will take place tomorrow.

Update: The ATP website has a video of the players' party here:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Draw for Sydney

The draw for the Sydney Medibank International tournament is out and David's quarter includes Lleyton Hewitt (WC), Janko Tipsarevic and Mardy Fish (seeded 8). David is seeded four behind Novak Djokovic, Gilles Simon, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
17 FISH, Mardy USA [8]

20 HEWITT, Lleyton AUS [WC]

22 LLODRA, Michael FRA

23 BYE
24 NALBANDIAN, David ARG [4]

Hewitt has been in good form at this last week's workout at the Hopman Cup, defeating Nicholas Kiefer and Dominik Hrbaty in the live Round Robin ties (but losing to James Blake in the dead tie). Hrbaty defeated Safin in the final to secure victory for the Slovak Republic. So, all in all, Hewitt's performance was worthy and dangerous looking, sufficient to make it likely that he will defeat Benneteau and then the winner of the Fish/Tipsarevic contest. If David wins his own first match against the Qualifier/Llodra contest winner, then he would meet Hewitt again in Sydney where they last played each other in the 2005 Davis Cup Quarterfinal. Argentina won the tie, this being a first for them on grass, with David clinching the victory by beating Hewitt 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 on the third day.

There is, therefore, quite a bit of history for both David and Lleyton at the Sydney International Tennis Centre and we can expect quite a bit of drama and spectator interest if a re-match does eventuate.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sydney Training Photos

These were taken during a training session on Friday...

(Bill Hearne/tournament website)

(Rob Griffith/AP Photo)

David interviewed in Sydney

This interview can be seen by visiting the Medibank International website. The camera gently pans down to reveal ... those thongs. But David seems happy, relaxed, and looking forward to his time in Sydney.

Update: The website has now provided a direct (linkable) YouTube version of the interview.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

David off to Sydney & 2009 Tournament Preview

Today, David will fly to Australia, heading for Sydney, where he'll start the new season. It's the first time he'll play this tournament, after having prepared for the Australian Open at the Kooyong invitational event the last couple of years.

David will begin this new season without a coach. According to an article from Olé, he worked with Luis Lobo, Carlos Moya's coach, during December. But it was apparently never intended to be a long-term collaboration. Whether David will pick a new coach, or when, or who - these are questions that for now remain unanswered. He has repeatedly said in interviews that he is looking for a new coach, though adding that it's not easy to find the right one.

But even though this new season will begin at a new tournament for David and with Martin Jaite no longer at his side, there's something that hasn't changed since the last year: David's goals for the season. "If my year is more regular, without injuries, I can set as my goal what I had planned for 2008: winning the Davis Cup and a Grand Slam." (Quoted on the official site.)

However, the 2009 season will see a number of changes, from the ranking points system to the tour calendar. Apart from participating in the Masters events, David also has to play four events of the newly created "Open 500" category. Which might require him to make a few adjustments to his schedule. Here's what his season could look like...

January - Australia
After playing Sydney and hopefully adjusting to the conditions (12/01-18/01), David will take part in the season's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open (19/01-01/02).

February - South American clay swing
David has already confirmed that he'll try to defend his title at Buenos Aires (16/02-22/02). And just like last year he'll then head over to Acapulco, which has been awarded the Open 500 status (23/02-01/03).

March - Indian Wells & Miami... and Davis Cup?
This month could start off with the Davis Cup (06/03-08/03). That is, if David plays in the first round tie against The Netherlands. It'll be a home tie for Argentina and in all probability a fairly easy one, even without David. But maybe he'll want to play anyway, to show his undying commitment. Afterwards, the back-to-back Masters events at Indian Wells (11/03-22/03) and Miami (25/03-05/04) await.

April - European clay-court swing
The fixed date in this month will be the Masters event at Rome (27/04-03/05). Prior to that, David will be able to choose whether he wants to play Monte Carlo (13/04-19/04), which is also still a Masters, though only in name as players are not required to participate. But he could also decide to play Barcelona (20/04-26/04) instead, another Open 500 tournament.

May - European clay-court swing continued
The beginning of the month will see David back at Estoril (04/05-10/05), which is the only tournament he has won more than once, namely in 2002 and 2006. And he has confirmed that he'll play it again, this year. After that it'll be time for the new Madrid Masters, now held on clay (11/05-17/05), before the clay season finally culminates at Roland Garros (25/05-07/06).

June - a few weeks on grass
After reaching the semifinal last year, David might choose the Queen's Club (08/06-14/06) as his warm-up tournament for Wimbledon again. Though that's merely speculation. Wimbledon itself will take place from 22/06-05/07, this year.

July - Davis Cup and... ?
Scheduled much later in the year than it used to be: the Davis Cup quarterfinal (10/07-12/07). Assuming that Argentina will beat The Netherlands, they'll face either France or the Czech Republic. Apart from this tie, I doubt that David will play any tournament during this month.

August - US hardcourt swing
At the start of the month, Washington (01/08-09/08) could be an Open 500 opportunity. But it's followed directly by the back-to-back Masters events at Montréal (08/08-16/08) and Cincinnati (15/08-23/08). And then on the last day of the month the last Grand Slam of the season will kick off, the US Open (31/08-13/09).

September - Davis Cup, hopefully...
The weekend after the US Open, the Davis Cup semifinal ties will be played (18/09-20/09). And hopefully, Argentina will make it that far. Apart from that, September is usually the month where David takes a bit of a break.

October - Asia & start of the indoor swing
This month begins with two parallel Open 500 events, at Tokyo and at Beijing (05/10-11/10), and chances are that David will play one of those to meet his required amount of 500 events. Afterwards, the new Masters tournament at Shanghai will see its premiere (12/10-18/10). Directly followed by Stockholm (19/10-25/10), where David promised to come back during the trophy cemerony last year. But whether he'll really do that with this sort of schedule and travelling involved remains to be seen.

November - indoor swing continued
It's very likely, I believe, that David will play Basel (02/11-08/11), which is now also an Open 500 event. Simply because he always does. The week after that it'll be time for the last Masters tournament of the season at Paris (09/11-15/11).
What, or rather if anything comes after that depends on David and his results, this year. I'll just add for the record that the World Tour Final at London, replacing the Masters Cup at Shanghai, will take place during the last week of November. And the Davis Cup final on the first weekend in December.

Before leaving for Australia, David paid a visit to Gualeguaychú, where he took part in the "carnaval", dancing and singing with the group "Papelitos". There are also several clips of it on YouTube. Here's a link to one of them.

(Photo: Clarin)