India No. 1 Sumit Nagal entered the second round of the US Open on September 1, beating Bradley Klahn of the US in four sets.
With the 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win, Nagal became the first Indian in seven years to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam. The last Indian to do so was Somdev Devvarman, incidentally at the US Open in 2013. Devvarman, in fact, had reached the second round of the 2013 Australian and the French Open as well.
Nagal, 23, is ranked 124th on the ATP list, five spots above his round 1 opponent, Klahn (129). Nagal, no doubt, went into the match with a rankings edge, but not big enough to give him any distinct advantage. As far as career trajectory is concerned, and where they stand, there was nothing separating the two players. But, on the day, Nagal came through as a better player, finding his rhythm right from the start.
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Nagal, in only his second Grand Slam main draw, was returning to the venue -- Flushing Meadows -- where he took a set off the great Roger Federer last year. The New York hard courts seem to bring out the best in the Indian and Tuesday was no different.
Klahn was the flashier, topping the aces column. However, Nagal’s advantage was evident in the areas which mattered. The Indian’s service game was impeccable on the day. 80 percent of his first serves went in, and he scored points on almost all the occasions. He was not far behind in the second serves too, scoring 86 percent from them. Facing a solid service game, Klahn found it difficult to push Nagal during the Indian’s service games, except in the third set.
On the other hand, Nagal had as many as 17 breakpoints through the match. The domination was absolute in the final set where Nagal raced to a 5-0 lead before sealing it 6-1.
Nagal will now face Austria's Dominic Thiem in the next round. The Indian will have to bring out his A game and also hope that luck plays a part too when he faces the World No. 3.
Murray Fights Into Round 2
Andy Murray battled back from two sets down to progress into the second round of his comeback Grand Slam. Murray prevailed in four hours and 39 minutes against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, winning 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-4.
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Last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev moved into the second round, storming past Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Medvedev will take on Australia’s Christopher O’Connell.
Fourteenth seed Grigor Dimitrov progressed with a straight-sets win over American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Meanwhile, sixth seed Matteo Berrettini, a semifinalist at the 2019 US Open, beat Japan’s Go Soeda 7-6 (5), 6-1, 6-4. And Marin Cilic of Croatia required five sets to oust American Denis Kudla 6-7 (3), 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3.
Serena Williams advanced in her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam while sister Venus Williams crashed out in the first round for the first time in her professional career.
Venus lost in straight sets to Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. Former champion Kim Clijsters, also on a comeback trail, crashed out while the rest of the women’s draw was devoid of any upsets.
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Serena, 38, began with a stutter, losing her first service game. However, she got her rhythm back immediately, and powered past Kristie Ahn 7-5, 6-3 at the empty Arthur Ashe stadium which adorns artwork by black artists in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice.
Clijsters, one of Serena’s biggest rivals last decade, was competing in her first Grand Slam match in eight years, It ended in a three-sets defeat at the hands of Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin advanced to the second round with a straight-set win over Yanina Wickmayer. Kenin will play Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the second round. Fernandez opened her campaign with a 6-4, 7-5, win over Vera Zvonareva on Tuesday.
Tenth seed Garbine Muguruza progressed into the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Japan’s Nao Havino.
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