US Open 2019: Roger Federer vs Sumit Nagal first round preview and prediction
It is a big day for Indian tennis with two of the country's top singles players set to make their debut on the show courts at the 2019 US Open. The draw may not have been kind to the Indian contingent with Prajnesh Gunneswaran drawing an in-form Daniil Medevdev and Sumit Nagal, who had to come through qualifiers, was pitted against none other than Roger Federer.
The only silver lining in the entire situation is that, this way, both these players get a chance to play on the big courts in their very first match in the main draw of the tournament. The young Nagal, meanwhile, can draw a lot of confidence from playing Federer on the legendary Arthur Ashe Stadium on the opening night of the Slam.
The 22-year-old from Haryana will go into the match with nothing to lose and sometimes that results in the athlete showcasing his best game. Nagal has talked about his reverence of Federer in a few interviews and it will be interesting to see how the Indian reacts to the occasion.
As for Federer, this US Open will be a chance to make up for a few early exits in the past couple of years. Last year he lost to Australian John Millman in the fourth round and in 2017 he bowed out in the quarter-finals after losing to Juan Martin del Potro.
The Swiss is not as immune to an upset as he was five years ago. However, it is important to note that these upsets have come at the hands of players with a lot of experience on the tour. Del Potro has been a former champion in Flushing Meadows and Millman too had been on the tour long enough to know the big stage well.
In Nagal's case, however, an upset seems highly unlikely. The young man has just not been around enough to totally comprehend the magnitude of the stage. He did win the Boys' Doubles title at Wimbledon a few years ago, but has not really had the results to back it up on the senior tour.
Nagal is really quick on his feet and a lot of his game is built on strong groundstrokes from the back of the court, with a strong preference for his forehand. He has a big swing off that wing and enjoys ripping a forehand for winners. He also likes to put a heavy topspin on his shots.
As much as the strategy works for him on a claycourt, it might be tricky here on the American hardcourts. He might not get as much time for the back swing with the ball coming at him much quicker. He will have to come out with an aggressive approach and send a strong message in the early stages of the match to really have any winning shot because if Federer settles in early, the match might be over in no time.
Irrespective of the result of this match, Nagal will have a lot to take away form this match. It will be interesting to see how Nagal approaches the match and if he really believes himself to be capable of an upset here.
Prediction: Roger Federer to win in straight sets.