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Australian Open 2024: Sumit Nagal becomes first Indian to enter singles main draw of a Grand Slam since 2021

Published at :January 12, 2024 at 3:17 PM
Modified at :January 18, 2024 at 2:38 AM
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Soumyaroop Mukherjee

Sumit Nagal will face Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the first round.

India’s number 1 men’s tennis player Sumit Nagal has made it to the men’s singles main draw of this year’s first Grand Slam, Australian Open 2024 after progressing through the qualification round on Friday. Sumit defeated Slovakian Alex Molcan 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets.

Interestingly, Nagal became the first Indian to make it to a singles main draw of a Grand Slam event since 2021. He was off the blocks quickly, racing away to a 3-0 lead in the first set by breaking Molcan’s serve right away.

Nagal will next take on 31st seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in the opening round. Earlier, Nagal had waltzed through his second qualifying match, beating wild card Edward Winter from Australia in straight sets at the KIA Arena. The scoreline had read 6-3, 6-2 in a one-sided match that lasted one hour and four minutes.

The man from Jhajjar, Haryana, broke again at 5-4 to take the first set 6-4. Nagal landed 75% of his first serves and converted both the break points he generated at first asking, which set things up nicely for him.

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The second set was a neck-to-neck affair till the seventh game, after which things turned utterly dramatic. The match saw a thrilling eighth game in the second set, where Nagal came close to breaking Molcan’s serve three times and endured seven deuces, before turning fourth time lucky and surging to a 5-3 lead. 

It has been a remarkable victory for Sumit considering the fact he overcame an ab strain in the second set to progress. Towards the end of the second set, Nagal was feeling some discomfort. At 5-3, when he was about to serve for the match, the Indian took a medical timeout and went on to lose serve.

Nagal is India’s only representation in the singles main draw at the Australian Open 2024 after Ankita Raina crashed out in the second round of the women’s singles qualifying event. Naturally, the 26-year-old will be shouldering the hopes of millions of Indians when he takes on Bublik on 15th.

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