Sumit Nagal breaks into top 100 after winning 5th Challenger title | Tennis News

CHENNAI: India's top-ranked men's singles player Sumit Nagal secured an easy win in the final of the Chennai Open Challenger here on Sunday. Nagal beat top seed Luca Nardi of Italy 6-1, 6-4 at the SDAT Tennis Stadium, winning his fifth Challenger title and breaking into the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time in his career.

Nardi didn't have the best start and the Italian's mistakes at crucial moments helped Nagal get a separation. The shoulder injury that had bothered Nagal in his semi-final win seemed to be a thing of the past as the Indian did enough to build on the counterattack.

Nardi tried to test Nagal on his backhand but it wasn't enough. Nardi was tiring towards the end of the set and the 26-year-old Nagal didn't have too much trouble finishing it.

In the second set, it was Nagal again who stepped on the accelerator and managed a few breaks. But Nardi was not ready to give up without a fight and hit Nagal twice to level the score at 4-4. In the ninth game, Nardi committed three unforced errors, two of them in a row. Nagal also hit an excellent forehand and surprised Nardi. Serving for the match, Nagal did not hit the first serves well. But he showed composure, saved two break points and secured the title.

Nardi had less than 24 hours to recover from a grueling three-set, three-hour, three-minute semifinal against Jason Tseng. It was clear that it had taken a lot out of him and Nagal was ready to make the most of it.

Nagal was emotional, trying to immerse himself in the moment of winning another title and, more importantly, joining the elite club of the world's top 100 players. “I feel very emotional now. I couldn't have asked for a better place to win the title. The last few years have been difficult (having surgeries, not receiving financial support and ranking outside the top 500) with many.” “There have been ups and downs. I'm very happy that I found a way to do my best every day and give myself the chance to be here,” said Nagal.

“I have never seen such a big crowd at a Challenger event in India (in my career). I am grateful to the people who came to support me. I would also like to thank all the people who supported me. Somdev.” Devvarman has been involved in the build for a long time and one of the reasons I like working with him is that he is very calm and I am on the opposite side. I am learning to remain calm and patient, which will help me become a better player,” Nagal added.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran was the last Indian to reach the top 100 of the ATP rankings in 2019.


And after five years, Nagal will achieve the coveted mark. “It's such a proud feeling and I hope this win can inspire more people to pursue a singles career,” said Nagal, who made it to the second round of the Australian Open in January.