Sumit Nagal knocked out of Australian Open after valiant effort vs Shang | Tennis News

Sumit Nagal’s dream run in the Australian Open came to an end after he lost to Juncheng Shang of China 6-2, 3-6, 5-7, 4-6 in the men’s singles second round match. Nagal had advanced to the main round of the Australian Open by winning three qualifying matches without dropping a set and then he shocked World No. 27 Alexander Bublik in the first round of the main event to become the first Indian male in over a decade to go beyond the opening match at Melbourne Park.

India’s Sumit Nagal hits a return against China’s Shang Juncheng during their men’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open(AFP)

Much was expected from the man from Jhajjar in his second round match as he was up against a Chinese teenager who is ranked three places below the Indian but the 18-year-old showed he is one for the future with an impeccable display against the experienced Indian.

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Nagal started exactly like he did against Bublik two days ago. He broke Shang’s serve in the first game of the match and then never allowed the Chinese to make sort of inroads in the set. After a couple of tough holds, Nagal got the better of Shang’s serve again to close out the first 6-2.

But the match slowly but surely started to turn from the second set. What worked for Nagal against Bublik, didn’t against Shang.

The 18-year-old Chinese upped his service game and started to put pressure on Sumit. The Indian’s wait-and-watch policy from the baseline backfired. Shang minimised his errors and started to find the corner of the court on a regular basis.

Instead of allowing the rally to build, Shang attacked Nagal by constantly charging to the court. This brought the errors from the Indian. Shang took the second set 6-3.

In the third, Sumit tried his best to match Shang stroke for stroke but so strong was the Chinese off his serve that he didn’t allow much opportunity to the world no. 137.

The deadlock was broken in the penultimate game of the set when Shang seized the opportunity to break Nagal’s serve and held his own to take a 2-1 lead by winning the set 7-5.

By the time the fourth set came, it was quite evident that Nagal was tiring. The errors on his return increased and the answers to Shang’s serve didn’t have conviction or power.

The fact that Nagal got only one break point in the next three sets was the biggest testimony to the composure the Chinese showed on his serve.

He will next face World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz at the Rod Laver Arena in the third round match.

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