Sumit Nagal reaches final at Heilbronn Challenger

Sumit Nagal reaches final at Heilbronn Challenger (ATP)
Sumit Nagal reaches final at Heilbronn Challenger (ATP)

India's top-ranked tennis player, Sumit Nagal, has advanced to his second ATP Challenger final of 2024 after a comfortable victory over Luca Van Assche with a scoreline of 6-2, 7-6(5), winning it in straight sets at the Heilbronner Neckarcup in Heilbronn, Germany.

Sumit Nagal got off to a great start in the semi-finals and broke Van Assche's serve to take a 2-0 lead. Nagal won two more breaks and the opening set with ease, even though Van Assche broke back during a hard-fought 20-point match. Both players struggled to hold serve in the second set, which ended up being more tough.

Sumit Nagal handled the tiebreaker calmly even though he lost three match points. He took a 5-5 lead thanks to a spectacular cross-court shot, and he made the most of his fourth match point with a brilliant return down the line to book his spot in the championship match.

In the quarterfinals, the top-ranked Indian defeated Russian Ivan Gakhov 6-1, 7-6(4). With his victory over the French player in the semifinals, Sumit Nagal will now face Alexander Ritschard of Switzerland in the final summit of the tournament.

Reflecting on his journey, Sumit Nagal shared:

“From the end of last year and till this year probably, I have been playing my best tennis. Before that I was out for 16-18 months due to hip surgery and end of 2022, I could play freely and without any pain."

Sumit Nagal aims to boost his ranking ahead of the Paris Olympics 2024 with a win at the Heilbronner Neckarcup

This marks Nagal's ninth ATP Challenger final and his second this year, having already won the Chennai ATP Challenger earlier in the season. The 26-year-old entered the Heilbronn tournament as the third seed and will face a lower-ranked opponent in the final.

A victory here would secure Nagal his sixth Challenger title, boost his ranking significantly, and enhance his chances for the Paris Olympics.

Sumit Nagal's successful run in 2024 extends beyond the Challenger circuit. He is set to make his Wimbledon debut, becoming the first Indian in five years to feature in the singles main draw.

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