Sumit Nagal is on a high this tennis season. The Indian youngster qualified for his first main draw of a Grand Slam at the US Open. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, he drew the great Roger Federer in his very first round of a slam.
While many saw this as bad luck on his part, in hindsight, perhaps everyone agrees that this was an opportunity for Nagal to play with the greatest player and learn some things.
What is better, as a youngster, than to test yourself against the very best of the sport? And to his credit, Nagal was unfazed by his opponent. He did his part and played his tennis, capturing the first set. Federer then turned on the style and took the next three sets and the match.
This encounter seems to have taught Nagal a few things. His confidence has surely surged since then and he has shown that with his performance.
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Since the US Open, Nagal has reached two Challenger Series finals. He lost out to Tallon Griekspoor in the Srpska Open final. He then continued his good form into the Challenger Buenos Aires. He had to fight hard in his first three rounds, but once he reached the semifinals, he put in some dominant displays.
Nagal dropped just one game in his semifinals against Thiago Monteiro. He played a wonderful final as well to beat Facunda Bagnis of Argentina 6-4, 6-2 to capture his second career Challenger title. He is now the first Indian to win on clay in South America.
He has now reached a career-high ranking of 135 in the world. This is a wonderful rise in the ranks, considering he was merely around the 340 mark in the rankings just last year. This is all due to the wonderful season he has had, reaching five semifinals along with these two finals.
Nagal will be looking to continue his good form and rise even further up the ranks, as he tries to usurp fellow Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran as the number one player in the country.