India’s Sumit Nagal crashed out of the Australian Open after losing his first round men’s singles match against Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 at Melbourne on Tuesday.
This was Sumit Nagal’s debut match, which lasted a little over two hours, at the Australian Open main draw. The Indian was given a wild card entry in the Grand Slam tournament.
It was Sumit Nagal’s second loss to Ricardas Berankis in as many weeks. The Lithuanian had beaten the Indian in straight sets in the opening round of the Murray River Open ATP 250 last Monday.
The current world No. 144, Nagal had made a confident start. In the third game of the first set, the Indian had a good opportunity to seize the control of the match but squandered four break points to let Berankis, ranked 72nd in men’s singles, off the hook.
The missed chance would come back to haunt Nagal. In the sixth game, Berankis turned the tide of the game with a phenomenal backhand from the baseline and kicked on to break the Indian to take a 4-2 lead.
The Lithuanian – a former junior world No. 1 – took firm control of the proceedings on Court 17 from that point onward and wrapped up the first set 6-2.
In the second set, Berankis, with his steady baseline game, limited the Indian’s opportunities to utilise his trademark forehand. The 23-year-old Indian looked visibly frustrated and made some unforced errors as he tried to power his way out of the predicament.
The Lithuanian broke Nagal in the second and fourth game of the second set and looked firmly on the driver’s seat with the score at 4-0. Sumit Nagal, however, dug deep and found a new gear to win the next four games on the trot draw level.
Berankis, though, showed his experience to fend off the resurgent Indian’s momentum and closed out the second set 7-5.
The third set saw the two players trade games before Berankis broke Nagal in the eighth game and proceeded to win it 6-3, to win the match by straight sets.
India’s hopes at the Australian Open now rests on the doubles players, with Ankita Raina, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan. Bopanna plays his first round match on Wednesday while Divij and Ankita are in action on Thursday.