Sumit Nagal stuns world no. 27 to enter Australian Open round 2 for first time
Nagal's win is the first time in 35 years that an Indian has beaten a seeded player in a Grand Slam event
Indian tennis ace Sumit Nagal stunned world number 27 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in straight sets to enter the second round of the Australian Open for the first time in his career today, 16 January.
The 26-year-old Nagal, who made it to the main draw through the qualifiers, beat 31st seed Bublik 6–4 6–2 7–6 (7–5) in a gruelling match that lasted 2 hours and 38 minutes.
Nagal's win was the first time in 35 years that an Indian has beaten a seeded player in a Grand Slam.
The last time it happened was back in 1989, when Ramesh Krishnan won over Mats Wilander, then world no. 1 and defending champion at the Australian Open.
The win also ensured Nagal's first ever progression to the second round of the season's first Grand Slam. In 2021, he had lost 2–6, 5–7, 3–6 to Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis in the opening round.
The world no. 137 Nagal will now be playing in the second round of a Grand Slam for only the second time in his career. In the 2020 US Open, he had lost to second seed and eventual champion Dominic Thiem 6–3, 6–3, 6–2 in the second round.
Nagal was off to an impressive start as he broke Bublik in the first game of the match but he also failed to hold on to his own serve next as the scoreline read 1–1.
The Indian then broke his opponent's serve twice to take the opening set 6–4 in 42 minutes.
Nagal played even better in the second set, as he broke his opponent's serve twice while holding his own all through to win 6–2 in 43 minutes.
In the third set, both players held their serve till the seventh game, when Nagal broke his opponent to take a 4–3 lead. He then cruised ahead at 5–3.
The Indian then served for the match at 5–4 but failed to hold. The third set went to a tie-breaker, with Nagal eventually winning 7–5.
Nagal had made it to the main draw with a 6–4, 6–4 win over Slovakia's Alex Molcan in the tournament's qualifying final on Friday, 12 January.
Nagal made his Slam debut in the 2019 US Open against the iconic Roger Federer. He took a set off the Swiss giant but lost the match 6–4, 1–6, 2–6, 4–6 eventually.
In the first round of the 2020 US Open, Nagal had beaten American Bradley Klahn 6–1, 6–3, 3–6, 6–1 to become the first Indian to win a Grand Slam singles match after Somdev Devvarman (2013).