India’s Sumit Nagal reached the second round of the 2020 US Open on Tuesday by defeating USA’s Bradley Klahn 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. He became the first Indian since Somdev Devvarman (2013 US Open) to win a match in the main draw of a Grand Slam.
World No 124 Nagal, who made his Grand Slam debut as a qualifer at US Open last year, grabbed headlines last year for taking a first set off 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in their first-round match at Flushing Meadows.
The India No 1, a direct entry this year, will now face second seed Dominic Thiem, who went through after his opponent – Spain’s Jaume Munar – retired while trailing 6-7, 3-6.
Nagal was the better player throughout his match against Klahn on Tuesday, barring a brief period in the third set when he seemed to have lost his range as the American upped the ante.
The 23-year-old started strongly on court No 12, breaking his opponent thrice to take the first set comfortably. Klahn showed a bit more resistance in the second set but Nagal finally got the break, after squandering three break points, to lead 4-2 before closing out the second set.
Klahn then took a medical timeout to get some treatment on his lower back. And that seemed to help the left-hander regain his composure as he broke Nagal for the first time, thanks in part to the Indian’s unforced errors, and force a fourth set.
But Nagal responded immediately to get an early break in the fourth set. The right-hander showed remarkable strength to put the disappointment of the third set behind him and soon got the second break of serve as well.
Nagal squandered three consecutive match points at 5-1 in the fourth set but eventually got the job done to seal a famous win and book a showdown with Thiem in round two.