HomeSportsTennisSumit Nagal reaches first ATP Challenger semis in 16 months

Sumit Nagal reaches first ATP Challenger semis in 16 months

Ending a 16-month drought in which he underwent a hip surgery and grappled with a scratchy return to the tour, Sumit Nagal entered his first ATP Challenger semi-final after beating Britain’s Jay Clarke 6-1, 6-4 in the ATP Chennai Open Challenger quarter-finals on Friday.

Nagal, with a career-high ranking of 122 in 2020, last reached a Challenger semi-final at the Sibio Challenger in October 2021. That was, incidentally, the 25-year-old’s last tournament before he shut his season early to undergo a surgery on his troublesome hip in November in Germany.

Making a comeback in April last year, Nagal just managed the one quarter-final in Meerbusch, Germany in August, struggling to regain his rhythm and level as his ranking plummeted. “Sixteen months, it’s been a while,” Nagal, currently ranked 506, said after his win on Friday. “Out of those 16 months, I did not play a lot too. Last year I was starting to play better and better tennis and felt pain free, but I was just not able to get those wins under my belt.”

The last Indian singles pro to win and play in a Grand Slam main draw, Nagal had a more encouraging start to this season at the ATP 250 event in Pune (he lost a close three-setter to world No 54 Filip Krajinovic) and the Davis Cup away tie against Denmark, where he won a match and had set points against the ninth-ranked Holger Rune.

Coming through two qualifying rounds in the home Challenger in Chennai, Nagal has beaten three higher-ranked players in the main draw — fourth seed Ryan Peniston of Britain (ranked 147), Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung (343) and Clarke (313).

“I came here saying, hey, I’ve been playing some good tennis,” Nagal said. “Tennis is all about confidence. And it takes time to build that especially if you’re coming off a long injury layoff. Today (against Clarke) was probably the best match I’ve played this week. I started good, and maintained my intensity and gameplan throughout the match.”

That Somdev Devvarman, India’s former top-100 singles pro, has been able to play a full-time coaching role (he is also hosting Nagal in his home) for Nagal in Chennai has also helped.

Nagal will take on Nicolas Moreno De Alboran, the 219th-ranked American who took down the top seed in the Round of 16, in the semi-finals on Saturday. Nagal last made a Challenger final in September 2019 in Buenos Aires.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

Stay Connected
Must Read
You might also like


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here