US Open 2020: Sumit Nagal reaches Grand Slam 2nd round for 1st time, ends India’s 7-year wait

India’s top-ranked men’s singles player Sumit Nagal reached the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career when he beat USA’s Bradley Klahn 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in their US Open 2020 men’s singles 1st-round match on Tuesday.

Sumit Nagal, World No. 124, thereby became the first Indian men’s singles player to win a Grand Slam main draw match since Somdev Devvarman in 2013. Somdev had reached the 2nd round at 3 majors, barring the Wimbledon, in 2013.

Notably, this is Sumit Nagal’s second successive US Open main draw appearance. Nagal had lost to 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the first round last year but gave the legend a scare by taking the first set before going down 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

He will return to the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday as he faces 2nd seed Dominic Thiem who reached the 2nd round after his opponent Jaume Munnar retired during their 1st-round match.

Sumit Nagal was in good form as he headed into the US Open after reaching the quarter-finals at Prague Challenger. The top-ranked Indian men’s singles player took a set off Stanislas Wawrinka on the dirt before losing in 3 sets. Nagal had resumed after the enforced break due to the Covid-19 pandemic by winning the PSD Bank Nord Open in Germany. The 23-year-old trains at the Nensel Tennis Academy and decided to stay back in Germany due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.

Nagal dominates first-round match

Screengrab from US Open website

The form was evident in the way Nagal opened his campaign against lower-ranked Bradley Klahn as he took the first set of his US Open campaign in just 23 minutes. Nagal maintained a win percentage of 80 percent on his first serves in the first set during which the experienced American made 15 unforced errors.

Nagal continued to dominate and clinched the second set 6-3 but he was broken at a crucial juncture in the 3rd set after which Klahn held his serve and forced a 4th set.

The losses against Federer and Wawrinka could have played in his mind after the set back in the 3rd set but Nagal gathered his focus back and clinched an early break. There was no looking back from thereon as the Indian youngster wrapped the firrst-round match in 2 hours and 12 minutes.

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