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Sumit Nagal qualifies for US Open singles

Sumit Nagal became the youngest Indian to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw in 25 years on Friday. He will meet Roger Federer in the first round.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: August 24, 2019 6:09:30 am
sumit nagal Sumit Nagal beat Joao Menezes of Brazil in the final US Open singles qualifying round match on Friday (File Photo/PTI)

Sumit Nagal, aged 22 and ranked 190 in the world currently, has qualified for the US Open 2019 men’s singles. He beat Joao Menezes of Brazil 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 27 minutes in the final qualifying round match on Friday. He will face Roger Federer in the first round.

This will be Nagal’s first appearance at a senior Grand Slam. Having turned 22 earlier this month, he is the youngest Indian to qualify for a Grand Slam main draw in 25 years.

The US Open, the last Slam of the year, begins on Monday. The men’s singles section will have two Indians – Nagal and automatic qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran.

Against Menezes on Friday, Nagal was broken in the 12th game of the first set for the first time to lose the opening set 5-7. He made a bad start to the second set as well, being broken to go 0-2 down. However, it was from this stage that he roared back.

He broke back twice to take the second set 6-4. With momentum on his side, he broke Menezes early on in the third set as well, going on to take it 6-3.

Nagal vs Federer; Prajnesh vs Medvedev

Nagal has been pitted against Roger Federer in the first round. The match is scheduled to take place on Tuesday morning, starting at around 6.30 AM (IST).

Prajnesh has been pitted against fifth seed Daniil Medvedev in the first round. That match is scheduled to start at around 10 pm (IST) on Monday night.

This is the first time since the 1998 Wimbledon – when Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had been in the men’s singles draw – that there are two Indians in a Grand Slam singles draw.

Nagal is just the fifth Indian to qualify for a Grand Slam singles event in the recent past. Somdev Dev Varman had played at the 2013 US Open. Saketh Myneni played at the 2016 US Open. Yuki Bhambri played in all four Grand Slams in 2018 before a knee injury derailed his run. Prajnesh Gunneswaran played at the 2019 Australian Open.

Nagal had never even managed to win a single Grand Slam qualifying match before this. On Tuesday, Nagal earned his first win at a Grand Slam qualifying event, knocking out seasoned Japanese Tatsum Ito (ranked 133) in straight sets. On Thursday, he beat 192-ranked Peter Polansky of Canada 7-5 7-6 (0) in the second qualifying round.

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In 2015, Nagal had won the boys’ doubles title at Wimbledon.

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