“It was not easy. I [still] needed four sets."
Tennis player Sumit Nagal made history at the US Open as he became the first Indian since 2013 to enter the second round.
Nagal created history on September 1, 2020, after defeating United States’ Bradley Klahn 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to advance further.
By doing so, the 23-year-old became the first Indian player to win a singles main draw match at a Grand Slam in the last seven years.
The last player to do so was Somdev Devvarman who had reached the second round of the Australian Open, French Open and US Open in 2013.
Nagal came out firing in the first two sets against Klahn as he won them 6-1, 6-3.
However, Klahn bounced back to take the third set 6-3, leading the match into an exciting finish.
But Nagal regained his focus and quickly raced into a 5-0 lead. He went on to win the fourth set 6-1.
The match lasted two hours and 12 minutes and was a piece of history for Indian tennis.
After beating the American, Nagal said: “It was not easy. I [still] needed four sets.
“I played a tournament before coming here (Challenger in Prague) while he hadn’t, and that made the difference. I thought I played pretty smart tennis and the result is there [to show].”
My first Slam win. It was definitely a special moment and a match I will not forget. Thank you everyone for the wishes??
Next match on Thursday, gonna be a fun one ?
— Sumit Nagal (@nagalsumit) September 2, 2020
During the lockdown, the World No. 124 stayed in Europe to improve his fitness and serve, both aspects that were evident during the opening round.
Following his win, Nagal now plays World No. 3 Dominic Thiem on September 3, 2020.
Devvarman said of his compatriot: “Winning your first match at a Slam is very important.
“Last year he was playing very well but drew Roger [Federer]. This time he got in and took advantage.
“He has to get a lot of credit for the way he has improved in the last 18 months or so, all the way up from being [ranked] in the 350s.
“We now hope he plays well and pushes Thiem to the maximum.”
On his upcoming match with Thiem, Sumit Nagal said: “I am ready and excited to play him.
“It’s going to be fun and (I will) see where I stand in terms of my tennis level.”
He went on to say that he is not the favourite but he has nothing to lose.
“I’ve got nothing to lose. Last year I played Roger Federer and this year Thiem. It is going to be a great match.
“For sure, I’m not the favourite.”
While he believes Thiem is the favourite, he believes the Austrian’s lack of preparation leading up to the US Open evens the playing field.
Prior to the Grand Slam tournament, Thiem played one match at the Cincinnati Masters.
“I don’t think we’ve had enough match practice on hard courts.
“It’s going to be the same for both of us for the match on Thursday.”