You Can’t Ignore Sumit Nagal: The 23-Yr-Old, Who Gave Roger Federer a Scare Last Year, Has Won a US Open Game


You Can’t Ignore Sumit Nagal: The 23-Yr-Old, Who Gave Roger Federer a Scare Last Year, Has Won a US Open Game

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

After a seven-year wait, tennis fans in India finally have something to celebrate. Sumit Nagal, a 23-year-old from Jhajjar Haryana, recorded his first-ever Grand Slam victory on Tuesday, defeating Bradley Klahn of the United States in the first round of the US Open.

In doing so, Nagal has become the first Indian to win a match in the main draw of a Grand Slam since 2013, when Somdev Devvarman won his opening match in the US Open.

Following his victory (6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1) on Tuesday, Nagal took to Twitter to thank his fans, saying it was a special moment and a match he will not forget.

The world number 124 earned accolades for his strong performance, which saw him dominate his opponent Klahn for most of the match. Nagal will now go on to face Austrian player Dominic Thiem, who is the second seeded player at the tournament, after both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer dropped out over the coronavirus pandemic and knee surgery, respectively.

On Tuesday, however, India’s top-rated tennis player lived up to his seed, winning the first two sets with relative ease. His opponent, Klahn, managed to pull back and win the third set after a medical time-out helped him regain his composure. However in the fourth and final set of the match, Nagal triumphed, giving Indians back home a rare cause for celebration in 2020.

Last year, Nagal had made headlines after facing off against legendary player Roger Federer in the US Open, a match which he went on to lose, but was immensely praised for, after he won the first set.

In 2015, he won the Wimbledon boys’ double with his Vietnamese teammate Lý Hoàng Nam and became only the sixth Indian player to win a junior Grand Slam trophy.

In the last few years, Somdev Devvarman has been the only tennis player from India to make it big in the sport, after reaching round 2 of the Australian Open, French Open and US Open. As Nagal prepares to face off against Thiem next week, thousands of his fans will hope he manages to break yet another record, and be the first to reach round 3.