Sumit Nagal, true to his style, fought hard before bowing out of the men’s singles event at the Tata Open Maharashtra on Monday.
Filip Krajinovic outgunned wild card entrant Nagal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in an intense opening-round match that lasted two hours and 24 minutes.
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Initially, Nagal struggled to contain his unforced errors but as the match wore on, he got more control on his groundstrokes.
Krajinovic packed a lot of power in his groundstrokes which he used to pin Nagal on either flank to open the court and then smashed the volley winners for points. The Serb charged to the net more to break Nagal’s rhythm.
The 25-year-old from Jhajjar lost the first set but it was far from easy for the Serb to get easy points. Nagal kept it a tight affair with his matching strokes.
Krajinovic was serving to stay in the set at 4-5 when Nagal created an opening with a forehand winner after an intense rally. Under pressure, the Serb opted to go for a backhand drop shot but Nagal reached out for the ball and blasted a forehand winner on the left of Krajinovic to seal the second set.
Nagal earned two break points with his deep returns in the second game, inducing unforced errors from Krajinovic but the Serb came out with some solid serving under pressure to escape.
Serving at 30-all in the ninth game, Nagal took a risk by attempting a drop shot but that landed on the net to give Krajinovic a breakpoint. The Indian helped the cause of his rival by hitting a forehand long.
Krajinovic came out to serve out the match and went up 30-15 with a great pickup. Nagal made it 30-all with an inside-out forehand winner. A simple drop volley winner on Nagal’s weak return gave the sixth seed his first match point but Nagal again saved that with a similar shot.
Nagal netted a forehand to hand the Serb his second match point, which he converted when the Indian hit a forehand wide.
In other matches, Serbian Laslo Djere knocked out fifth seed Slovakian Alex Molcan 6-2, 6-4 while Dutch Tallon Griekspoor sent packing seventh seed Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-4, 7-5.
Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi made short work of Chinese-Taipei’s Chun-Hsin Tseng 6-0, 6-3. Roberto Carballes Baena defeated fellow Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-1, 7-5.
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