On Sunday, India’s second highest-ranked singles player Sumit Nagal beat home favourite Facundo Bagnis in straight sets in the final of the Challenger de Buenos Aires. He thus became the first Asian man to lift the $54,160 ATP Challenger title in Buenos Aires. The win was also the first ATP Challenger title win by an Indian in 2019.
Nagal, seeded seventh, took home the first set 6-4 in Sunday’s final at the clay-court tournament. The 22-year-old then proceeded to dominate the second set and wrapped it up quickly with the scores reading 6-2 in favour of the Indian.
One cannot, however, overlook the familiar share of disappointment and stagnation in the growth of Indian tennis, despite the glimmer of hope from players like Nagal. He said dejectedly,
Earlier, the youngster, who won the junior Wimbledon boys doubles title in 2015, had demolished fourth seed and World No. 108 Thiago Monteiro from Brazil 6-0, 6-1 in the semi-final. Before that, he had defeated Pedro Sakamoto, Jose Hernandez-Fernandez and Francisco Cerundolo in his first three matches.
The triumph marks Nagal’s second Challenger trophy, with the first one coming at the Bengaluru Open in 2017. Nagal has been enjoying a superb run of form this year. Ranked 161 in the world on the ATP singles tour, he hogged the headlines recently when he took the first set off Roger Federer at the US Open.
He then followed it up with runner-up finish at the Banja Luka Challenger in September and this was his second final on the trot. This Challenger title will no doubt boost Nagal’s confidence massively.