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Tennis

Australian Open: Sumit Nagal knocks out world no. 27 Alexander Bublik in 1st round

Playing in a windy condition at Melbourne Park, Bublik faltered under pressure as he continued to double-fault and find the net multiple times, giving away Nagal a hard-fought win.

Sumit Nagal Tennis
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Sumit Nagal will be up against Karen Khachanov in the first round of the men's singles draw. (File photo)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 16 Jan 2024 4:53 PM GMT

Sumit Nagal, ranked 137th in the world, knocked out world no. 27 Alexander Bublik in the first round of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year. Nagal beat Bublik 3-0 [6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (5)].

In the first set, Nagal raced to a 4-1 lead. Even though Bublik made a quick recovery to make it 4-3, the Indian player claimed the set 6-4, capitalising on his higher-ranked opponent's error-marred performance.

Playing in a windy condition at Melbourne Park, Bublik faltered under pressure as he continued to double-fault and find the net multiple times, trailing 4-1 in the second set and breaking his racquet in frustration.

Nagal soon went on to claim a 5-2 lead. Bublik, however, managed to save three set points before Nagal staved off the challenge to make it 2-0 in the match, winning the second set 6-2.

After the interval, Bublik showed signs of a comeback, holding serve in two consecutive games for the first time in the match to lead 2-1.

The Kazakhstan player had a chance to break Nagal while leading 3-2 but the Indian held his nerves and drew level 3-3.

Nagal would eventually earn the decisive break in the next game, claiming a 4-3 lead and holding serve in the next game to open up a two-game lead.

Bublik, however, clawed back to reduce the margin to 4-5.

But Nagal did not break down under pressure as he attempted a forehand winner to make it 6-4, and went wide again after a long rally at the next point.

The crowd was cheering for Bublik, but Nagal had the last laugh as the Kazakh player committed a double fault, giving away a first-round win to Nagal.

Nagal is apparently the first Indian since Ramesh Krishnan, who beat a seeded player in a Grand Slam tournament in 1989, to win against a seeded player.

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