On a day of upsets, Sumit Nagal, awarded a Wild Card, took the first step towards defending his title when in a rematch of last year's final, ousted seventh seed Jay Clarke in the opening round of the US $150,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger at the KSLTA in Bengaluru on Monday.
The 21-year-old took just about two hours to register a straight set 6-4, 7-5 victory amidst loud cheers from stands.
"I am happy to begin with a win. As I said earlier, I did not expect anything from the match and will take one match at a time," said the Bengaluru Open defending champion.
In another upset, Turkey's Cem Ilkel outlasted second seed Marco Trungelliti of Argentina in 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in over two and a quarter hours. The only other seed to play today – fifth seed Marc Polmans of Australia was stretched by his countrymate Maverick Banes before overcoming 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
In the doubles, it was the turn of the Indian duo of Arjun Kadhe and Saketh Myneni to send the favourites fourth-seeded Ratiwatana brothers Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 to enter the last eight stage.
Sumit stuns Clarke
In the match played on centre court, it seemed as if defending champion Sumit took off from where he had left about a year ago. The match between Sumit and Clarke promised fireworks from the word go with both the players trading shots in a fast-paced game.
Sumit, in particular, was visibly aggressive in his approach. After both the players had held their respective serves for the first eight games, Sumit broke Clarke's serve in the ninth to go 5-4 up and served out for the set.
Maintaining the same tempo in the second set, Sumit put his forehand to good use and virtually had Clarke on the wrong foot on many occasions and earned an early break. However, he could not maintain the tempo, losing the advantage, thanks to some unforced errors. Parity was restored in the sixth game. Both players then held on to their serves until Sumit broke the Englishman in the 11th game and held his serve in the next to win the match.
"I think it was a better match last year with both of us in good shape," admitted Sumit.
Meanwhile, India's Mukund Sasi Kumar breezed past Frenchman Mick Lescure 6-1, 6-1 to make it to the main draw. The other Indian Siddharth Vishwakarma went down to Youssef Hossam of Egypt 4-6, 4-6 in the final qualifying round.
Results (Round-1) (Prefix denoted seeding, parenthesis denotes country)
- 5- Marc Polmans (Aus) bt Maverick Banes (AUS) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2;
- W-Sumit Nagal bt 7-Jay Clarke 6-4, 7-5
- Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) bt Scot Griekspoor (NED) 6-3, 6-2;
- Cem Ilkel (TUR) bt 2-Marco Trungelliti (ARG) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3)
- Tsung-Hua Yang (TPE) Vs. James Ward (GBR)
- W-SD Prajwal Dev (IND) / Niki Poonacha (IND) bt Alexander Pavlioutchenkov (RUS) / Filip Peliwo (CAN) 1-6, 7-6 (3), 10-2
- Max Purcell (AUS) / Luke Saville (AUS) bt Chandril Sood (IND) / Lakshit Sood (IND) 6-2, 6-2.
- Arjun Kadhe (IND) / Saketh Myneni (IND) bt 4-Sanchai Ratiwatana (THA) / Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) 6-3, 3-6, 11-9
- Blaz Kavcic (SLO) / Tristan-Samuei Weissborn (AUT) bt Radu Albot (MDA) / Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-4, 7-5