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Tata Open | Krajinovic fended off a spirited challenge from Nagal

Filip Krajinovic in action in his opening round match against India’s Sumit Nagal | Photo Credit: Special Arrangements

Sumit Nagal fought hard before losing to Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 4-6, 6-4, 4-6 in the opening round of the Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium here on Monday.

When Krajinovic took a one-set lead and dropped Nagal with two break points at 2-2 in the second set, the contest seemed to have only one winner. But the Indian turned it around admirably and survived deep into the third set before the volatile tie, which lasted 2 hours and 24 minutes, was settled at the hands of Krajinovic.

Had he won against the World No.54, it would have been the 25-year-old Nagal’s second biggest victory, after a victory over then-No.22 Cristian Garin in Buenos Aires in March 2021.

For nearly a set and a half, Nagal never seemed to come close to anything like that. The 6’10” Serb’s power was something he couldn’t handle and Krajinovic’s booming serve earned him plenty of free points. And when the rallies faltered, Krajinovic’s incredibly accurate double-fisted backhand often decided things.

Sumit Nagal in action in his opening round against Serbia's Filip Krajinovic

Sumit Nagal in action in his opening round match against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic | Photo Credit: Special Arrangements

But Nagal holding 3-2 in the second set after saving two break points triggered the shift. Even though Krajinovic moved Nagal from the end and rushed his shots, the latter swung hard and swung well.

Holding at 5-4 showed that Nagal had finally found the tennis to match Krajinovic, with a gutsy one-two punch and a put-away volley to finish off a well-constructed point as the standout moment.

With Krajinovic serving at deuce, 4-5, Nagal made the game by entering the court, dictating a rally and forcing a weak backhand into the net. That clearly unsettled the Serb, who on set point went audacious but ended up with a drop shot that Nagal delighted in the open court.

At the start of the third set, Nagal had two break points in the second game to take complete control of the match, but was unable to do so. Krajinovic soon tightened her game, and at 4-4, when she put pressure on Nagal’s serve, the home favorite had no higher gear to shift into. From 30-15, Nagal missed an easy forehand, dropped a drop into the net and sent an inside-out length. The fight is over.

“If I can play games like this, I will be really happy,” Nagal said later. “It’s a very high level, and matches like this will not only improve you fitness-wise but also, you learn to stay calm and your shot selection will be better.”

Earlier in the day, 15-year-old Manas Manoj Dhamne quickly impressed in his tour-level debut before losing 2-6, 4-6 to Michael Mmoh of the United States.

The results (first round): 6-Filip Krajinovic (Srb) bt Sumit Nagal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Michael Mmoh (USA) bt Manas Manoj Dhamne 6-2, 6-4; Roberto Carballes Baena (Esp) bt Bernabe Zapata Miralles (Esp) 6-1, 7-5; Tallon Griekspoor (Ned) bt 7-Jaume Munar (Esp) 6-4, 7-5; Benjamin Bonzi (Fra) bt Chun Hsin Tseng 6-0, 6-3; Laslo Djere (Srb) bt 5-Alex Molcan 6-2, 6-4; Marco Cecchinato (Ita) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (Geo) 6-2, 6-2.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Content Writer for Sports section on Brews.co.in. He is very Passionate about sports tournament, Games Activity, Current Affairs etc. Contact: alok.kumar.55@brnews.co.in

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