Hamburg: Young Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal, who has quietly made some long strides in the last few weeks, knocked out fifth seed Sebastian Ofner to be one win away from sealing a berth in the main draw of the ATP 500 Hamburg European Open, here Saturday.
Nagal, who is on the cusp of breaking into top-200 for the first time in his career, beat the world number 138 from Austria 7-5 6-2 in his first round of the clay court event.
"I served well on the crucial points. I fought well and was very solid when the rallies were going more than 4-5 shots. I was very motivated and pumped up to go on court. I am looking forward to tomorrow's match," Nagal told PTI.
The 21-year-old from Haryana next faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the world number 128 and third seed from Spain.
Nagal has enjoyed stupendous success in the last few weeks in the Challenger circuit, where he made five semifinals in seven tournaments.
In the process he recorded the biggest win of his career when he beat world number 56 Martin Klizan at Bratislava Open, last month.
If Nagal qualifies for Hamburg Open, it will be only his second main draw on the ATP World Tour but first at the ATP 500 level, having competed at the Tata Open Maharashtra in 2018 as a qualifier.
He had started the year outside 350-bracket but is now very close to top-200. Is he doing anything different to get consistent results?
"To be honest, I am enjoying being on tennis courts and fighting, that's all. When you are happy and looking forward to step on the court every day, things go well," he insisted.