At the Australian Open, Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal made history by defeating Kazakhstan’s 31st-seeded Alexander Bublik in straight sets to earn a spot in the second round. With remarkable skill on the court, the 26-year-old, who qualified for the main draw through qualifiers, defeated his higher-ranked opponent 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(7-5) in a tough match that lasted two hours and 38 minutes. With this win, Nagal advanced to the Australian Open’s second round for the first time, which is a noteworthy accomplishment for him given that he lost to Ricardas Berankis in the first round of the 2021 tournament.
Nagal, who is currently rated 139th in the world, defeated a seeded player in a Grand Slam tournament, becoming the first Indian to do so in 35 years. Due to his refusal to participate in the Davis Cup match in Pakistan, Nagal was not granted a regional wild card by the All India Tennis Association (AITA). As a result, he had to go through qualifiers in order to get to the main round.
“There has been a combination of good and terrible during the past 12 to 18 months. They were both good and bad in that I learned from them and I was unable to play properly as a result. I improved and grew more mature after the injury. I had a far greater understanding of tennis.”
Sumit Nagal on his Win
“I was aware that the weather would be difficult and intense. Knew that if I returned serves, it would irritate him because big servers do not like to serve in the wind. I tried that, and it was successful. He most likely did not intend the first two sets to be as they were. In tennis, you can feel the ball with your fingertips or not. I played arguably one of my finest tennis sets to date today, staying composed,” Nagal said to SonyLIV.
Nagal went on to say that the previous three days had been more “emotional” than “physical,” beginning with the qualification round. “I feel fantastic. It hasn’t been so much physical as emotional. I’m becoming better and better with every game. I had a hard time playing two sets on Friday, had a hard time playing two sets on Friday. I played three today. It’s not every game that I’ve reached this point. We’re going to relax, take an ice bath, and get a massage tomorrow. Quite normal,” Nagal remarked.
With his victory on Tuesday, Sumit Nagal opens a new chapter in his Grand Slam career and makes it to the second round for the second time. His last appearance on this stage came at the US Open in 2020, where he lost to eventual winner and top seed Dominic Thiem. Nagal’s next opponent in the second round is the unseeded Shan Juncheng. If Nagal prevails in that match, he may play world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the third round.