Adjust font size:
CHENNAI, India -- Denmark's Kristian Pless defeated world number eight and second-seeded Argentine David Nalbandian 2-6 6-3 7-5 in the first round at the Chennai Open on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Pless won in two hours and 22 minutes to record the first upset of the $416,000 event.
Earlier, Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal began the new season with a 6-4 6-2 victory over German Rainer Schuettler.
"It's my first win over a top-10 player," an excited Pless told a news conference.
The 25-year-old Nalbandian, semifinalist at last year's Australian Open and French Open as well as last month's prestigious Masters Cup, said he had expected to win in straight sets after winning the opening set.
"I started good and was feeling good," Nalbandian said. "I guess he played better. The injury to my left knee played up. My shots were not as deep as they were at the beginning. I could not push it as much as I had wished."
Nalbandian, who defeated Swiss world number one Roger Federer in the final of the 2005 Masters Cup, went 3-0 up in the decider but Pless broke back in the fifth and 11th games to go up 6-5 before serving out the match in style.
The 20-year-old Nadal, dressed in a bright yellow sleeveless tee-shirt and green capris, ended his German opponent's challenge in 86 minutes after himself looking rusty in a first set that lasted 50 minutes.
"I needed the win, I wasn't feeling 100 per cent fluent coming back into competition after the break," the top seed told reporters.
"It's good to begin the season with a victory, but I need more match practice before going to Australia (for the season's first grand slam)."
Nadal, who exited in the first round in his only previous appearance here as a rookie three years ago, looked out of sorts in the opening set.
Schuettler, finalist at the 2003 Australian Open, broke Nadal in the sixth game but faltered on his serves to be broken in the seventh and ninth games as the two-times French Open champion took control of the first set before sealing victory.
Nadal will meet India's Karan Rastogi in the second round.
Earlier former world number one Carlos Moya of Spain, seeded fifth, dismantled German Alexander Waske 7-6 6-3 in 80 minutes.
Davydenko and Ljubicic through
Meanwhile, top seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and second-seeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic progressed into the second round of the $1 million Qatar Open in contrasting fashions on Tuesday.
Davydenko was stretched by South Korean opponent Lee Hyung-taik before emerging a 7-5 6-4 winner while Ljubicic, a two-time runner-up in Doha, scored an easy 6-1 6-2 victory over qualifier Denis Gremelmayr of Germany.
Olivier Rochus caused the first upset of the tournament, defeating seventh-seeded Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean 6-4 6-4.
Eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland also fell, losing to Max Mirnyi of Belarus 5-7 6-4 6-4.
Davydenko was the overwhelming favorite against Lee but the South Korean had other plans. A silver medallist at last month's Asian Games in Doha, he troubled a rusty-looking Davydenko.
"It was a tough first match as the balls were slow. I had trained with faster balls in Mauritius before coming here and it was difficult to adjust," Davydenko told reporters.
"I have not thought about becoming world No. 1 as yet. I have just won my first match of the season. Maybe if I win the Australian Open, we can talk about that."
In sharp contrast to Davydenko, Ljubicic wrapped up the match in less than an hour, using his powerful serves and baseline play to overcome his opponent.
"It was a good win," he said. "I am happy with my performance especially as I have recovered from last season's illness."
Ljubicic had to pull out of the Paris Masters following a virus in November last year. "I was worried that the illness would affect my career, but now I have fully recovered and I feel fully fit. Hopefully I can keep up this form throughout the season," he said.
Earlier, Moroccan wild card entry Younes El Aynaoui pulled off a stunning 7-6 7-6 win over 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson of Sweden.
"This is a great win. It shows that I am ready for the circuit and that I have recovered completely from my injury," Aynaoui said.
In another first round match, Federico Luzzi of Italy beat Austria's Juergen Melzer 5-7 6-4 7-5.
Pless' victory was his first ever against a player ranked in the world's top 10.