Two Saturdays in the past, Sumit Nagal crashed out within the first qualifying spherical of the ATP Cordoba Open after shedding to 396th-ranked Argentine Facundo Diaz Acosta. It was Nagal’s first match again on his favoured clay courts since October final yr. In February, he had misplaced within the opening spherical on the Australian Open.
Per week after Cordoba, he was once more made to sweat on the filth of Buenos Aires, pressured to dig out lengthy, three-set wins in two of the three qualifiers.
On Thursday, although, the 23-year-old Indian earned the largest victory of his profession to this point, defeating world No. 22 and second seed Chilean Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-3 within the second spherical of the ATP 250 Argentina Open. This was Nagal’s maiden win in opposition to a top-50 participant; his earlier finest end result was beating Martin Klizan, then No. 56 on the earth, on the ATP Bratislava Challenger in June 2019. Nagal will tackle world No. 46 Albert Ramos-Vinolas within the quarter-finals on Friday, having crushed the Spaniard within the 2019 Lyon Challenger quarters.
“I felt like I wanted this win,” Nagal mentioned on Thursday. “It positively means loads. I’m having fun with being on the courtroom and I’m pleased with the quantity of matches I get to play right here.”
Mahesh Bhupathi, Nagal’s mentor from his early days, termed the win in opposition to Garin as “big” for the teenager. “It’s the largest stepping stone in his profession. This can give him loads of confidence. He has received 5 matches in a row now, and hopefully he can preserve going. Nonetheless, it’s been a fantastic week,” Bhupathi mentioned.
That Nagal feels extra at residence on clay was on show in opposition to Garin, and in his first-round 6-2, 6-0 win in opposition to A centesimal-ranked Brazilian Joao Sousa. On Thursday, Nagal troubled the Chilean together with his high quality forehand from the baseline, however crucially received extra factors on his second serve–56% in comparison with Garin’s 32%. Each gamers had break possibilities aplenty, with Nagal changing seven out of his 19 appears on the Garin serve.
Bhupathi felt Nagal’s resolution to modify to clay after simply two matches on the laborious courts of Melbourne to begin the season proved proper. “He made a acutely aware effort to play in Argentina, as a result of clay is his favorite floor. The truth that he’s bought matches underneath his belt with the clay-court season developing, it’s a fantastic state of affairs for him to be in,” he mentioned.