Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal earned a dream Grand Slam debut for himself as he set up the US Open first round against one of the greatest players of all times, the legendary Roger Federer. The 22-year-old boy from Jhajjar in Haryana would have felt he was living in a dream as he beat the 20-time Grand Slam champion 6-4 in the opening set of the match.
Nagal, who was playing his maiden Grand Slam main draw match at the US Open, came out with a positive approach and showed no signs of being overwhelmed by the sense of occasion in front of the packed crowd. The young lad started to dominate rallies by hitting a few delightful forehand winners and being patient in the middle.
Roger Federer had played only 2 competitive matches between his run to the Wimbledon final in July and his US Open first round match on Monday. The rustiness thus was evident as Federer struggled with his first serves, getting only 48 percent of them.
Sumit Nagal put up a valiant fight against his ‘idol’ Federer in the 1st-round clash that extended to 2 and half hours on Monday night.
- Nagal, World No. 190, punched above his weight to give the 20-time Grand Slam champion a scare before going down 4-6, 1-6, 2-6, 4-6
- Even as Federer took control of the 2nd set with improved first serves and decrease in unforced errors, a stunning forehand down-the-line winner from Nagal left the New York crowd in disbelief
- Nagal also won a brilliant net exchange with Federer with his athleticism and anticipation
- Nagal came up with quite a few forehand stunners but he was not able to keep up with Federer’s intensity in his maiden Grand Slam appearance as he took only 3 games over the 2nd and 3rd set
- Just when Federer looked like he would run away with the match after he took a 2-0 lead in the 4th set, Nagal held his serve to love and broke back to give himself another window of opportunity
- Federer immediately broke back and continued putting pressure on the Indian youngster who refused to go away as he made Federer work hard in the remainder of the match
About Sumit Nagal
- Born on August 16, 1997, Sumit has come a long way from his days of wandering on the sidelines of tournaments, hoping to get in
- He won the 2015 Wimbledon boys’ doubles title with his Vietnamese partner Lý Hoàng Nam, defeating pair of Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan in the final
- He became the sixth Indian player to win a junior Grand Slam Title
- He made his Davis Cup debut for India in the 2016 World Group Playoff tie against Spain in New Delhi, but the next couple of years were not that great for the youngster
- He was dropped from the Indian Davis Cup squad in 2017 after reports came to surface that he missed a practice session in July 2016 at Chandigarh during the tie against Korea, citing a hangover
- But 2019 saw a turnaround in fortunes – Nagal came into the US Open qualifiers confident, backed by terrific results during the Clay court season
- Consistent results on the Challenger Circuit meant that he broke into the top-200 for the first time in his career
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