The ninth edition of the Challenger de Buenos Aires will feature Sumit Nagal and home favourite Facundo Bagnis in the final.
Sumit Nagal is the first Asian player to make it to the finals of this event. Ever since its inception, the Buenos Aires challenger has seen at least one Argentine finalist and this year it would not be any different. Pablo Cuevas, Kyle Edmund and Pablo Andujar are the only non-Argentine players to have won this event.
Focusing on this year's final, both Nagal and Bagnis are seeded seventh and eighth respectively. Nagal began his campaign at Buenos Aires by winning all his matches till the quarterfinals in three sets. However, the Indian steamrolled Thiago Monteiro in the semis, dropping only one game. Bagnis, on the other hand, has dropped only one set en route the finals.
Facundo Bagnis has only once previously faced an Indian. He won that match in the qualifying round of the 2015 US Open against Ramkumar Ramanathan. Nagal has played four Argentine opponents previously at the Challenger level events. He lost the first one against Guido Andreozzi at the 2016 Caltanissetta Challenger. Later, this year, Nagal faced three Argentine opponents, defeating each one of them comprehensively. All his wins against Argentine opponents came on clay courts.
- On clay, in Challenger events, Nagal has won 58% whereas Bagnis has won 65% of the matches.
Bagnis has won 69% of his first serve points compared to Nagal's tally of 63%.
- The second serve percentage is almost similar for both players: Nagal (51%), Bagnis (52%).
Nagal has the upper hand in tiebreaks. The Indian has won 72% of those sets compared to Bagnis (47%).
- Break point conversion rate is better for Nagal. Nagal has converted 39% of his break points this season, which is 9% more than that of Bagnis.
- Bagnis reached the finals of Lisboa and Braga this year, and lost both of them. Nagal reached the finals of Banja Luka and settled for the runner-up spot.
- Overall, in 2019, Nagal's win-loss percentage is up at 68%, compared to Bagnis (61%).
Bagnis has had the privilege of being a Top 60 player in his career. Nagal, on the other hand, has recently broken into the Top 150.
While experience and serving numbers favour Bagnis, it is Nagal's form and returning skills that neutralize this matchup.
Bagnis has a win-loss record of 191-116 against right-handed opponents on the Challenger circuit. Nagal, on the other hand, has a 5-4 win-loss record against southpaws on the Challenger tour.
Both players face each other for the first time. Will it be Bagnis' eleventh or will it be Nagal's second title on the Challenger circuit?
Prediction: Nagal wins in three sets.