Bengaluru Open: Sumit Nagal wins maiden ATP Challenger title
20-year-old Sumit Nagal capped off a brilliant week by winning the men’s singles title at the $100, 000 Bengaluru Open held at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association grounds on Saturday. Nagal held his nerves to pull off a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Jay Clarke of Great Britain in the final that lasted 1 hour 56 minutes.
This is the first ATP Challenger title for the former junior Wimbledon doubles champion. This was also the first time he had reached the final in any tournament of this level.
The 321st ranked Nagal was a giant-killer all week. Displaying supreme confidence and staunch determination, he shocked the top seed Blaz Kavcic -- ranked 219 places above him -- in straight sets in the quarter-finals.
He carried on that form in the semi-finals and showed the door to the India No. 1 and Pune Challenger champion Yuki Bhambri with a 6-4, 6-0 win.
That conviction was evident even in the final when he stormed back from a 1-3 deficit against the 279th ranked Jay Clarke in the first set. Breaking the Briton twice, the 20-year-old went on a run of five consecutive games to wrap up the opening set, 6-3.
The second set was much more competitive. The two were engaged in a deadlock till 3-3 after which Clarke found an opening and made in-roads into the Nagal serve in the eighth game. With a comfortable service hold, he clinched the second set to level matters.
The two traded breaks to open the decider. Sumit then got the decisive break in the fourth game to surge to a 3-1 lead with his fiery forehands stealing the show. The Indian then held on to it for the rest of the set to bag the memorable win at home.
Nagal’s break point conversion rate was a whopping 71%, a crucial statistic that turned the tide in his favour. He finished with a total of 91 out of 171 points while Clarke could grab only 80 points.
Divij Sharan captured the doubles title on Friday
Earlier on Friday, India also had a win in doubles. Divij Sharan teamed up with Mikhail Elgin of Russia to beat the Croatian pair of Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov, 6-3, 6-0 in the final.
This was Sharan’s second doubles Challenger title of the season after claiming the title at Bordeaux earlier in the year alongside Purav Raja. For the left-handed Sharan, this was the third ATP title of any kind this year. He won the European Open in Antwerp -- an ATP 250 event -- in October in tandem with Scott Lipsky.