India’s Sumit Nagal proved to be more than a match for ATP world number 27 Alexander Bublik who lost 4-6, 2-6, 6-7 to the Indian tennis sensation.
Nagal eased to a 2-set lead over Bublik who was far from his best. Bublik though managed to compete in the final set. In a topsy-turvy third set Nagal and Bublik slogged it out for the first six matches of the set and the scoreline was tied at 3-3, Nagal then stepped up his game again and broke Bublik to lead 4-3. Nagal then held his own serve and was on the verge of a comfortable victory with the scoreline reading 5-3 and Nagal needing just one more game to complete the victory.
Bublik however did not accept defeat easily and stormed back to level the game 5-5 with the Indian showing a bit of nervousness.
In the tie-break however Nagal was back to his best and won it 7-5.
The victory was an significant achievement as Nagal became the first Indian beating a seeded player in a Grand Slam tournament. The last person to do so was Ramesh Krishnan who beat the then world number 1 Mats Wilander in the 1989 Australian Open second round.
The furthest any Indian has reached in the Australian Open is the third round, a record Nagal will be hoping to break next.
Who is Sumit Nagal?
Sumit Nagal was born to school teacher Suresh Nagal and his wife Krishna Devi on August 16, 1997 in Jhajjar, Haryana. He was always interested in Tennis and took up the sport at the early age of 8. He displayed a prodigious talent in the sport and won his first-ever ITF Futures title by defeating Gustavo Vellbach 6–2, 6–0 at India F8 tournament. Further glory was on the horizon for the Tennis star as he won the 2015 Wimbledon boy’s doubles title with his partner Lý Hoàng Nam from Vietnam at just 15 years of age.
Nagal made his Davis Cup debut for India in 2016. However every career has its ups and downs and Nagal was dropped from the Davis Cup team following serious disciplinary issues. It was reported that Nagal missed morning practice sessions because of alleged hangover. He also stuggled for form after he failed to reach final of any ITF or Challenger tournament in 2018.
2019, however, proved to be a different story as Nagal qualified to participate in his first-ever Grand Slam, the US Open, and faced the mighty Roger Federer in the first round. Although Nagal lost the match, he won hearts by claiming the first set against the 20-time Grand Slam winner. Federer then tipped Nagal to have a “very solid career in Tennis.”
He later made his Olympics debut in 2021 where he became the first Indian in 25 years to reach the second round.
With the historic triumph in the first round of the Australian Open, Nagal will hope to build on the performance to break further records and script his name in not only Indian Tennis but World Tennis in general.