Misc Tennis

Sumit Nagal outclasses Molcan to enter Australian Open singles main draw

Storm Sanders was Australia’s hero after she won the first singles rubber before returning for the deciding doubles match alongside 38-year-old Samantha Stosur.

India’s Sumit Nagal.
| Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

India’s Sumit Nagal on Friday entered the singles main draw of the Australian Open with an easy win over Slovakia’s Alex Molcan in the tournament’s qualifying final here.

Nagal cruised past Molcan 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and three minutes, and won the match after his opponent double faulted at 30-40 in the 10th game of the second set.

“It feels great, its always nice to qualify for the Slam. My emotions were really high after the match. I needed to calm myself down, I set in the locker room for an hour and a half,” Nagal said after the match.

“It meant so much to me, looking at my last few years, going through a surgery and not able to play the tournaments which I wanted to play and ranked 500 something in the beginning of last year.

“So yeah, I worked very hard to be here and I am proud of myself and team for making me the player I’m today.”

Nagal will now face Kazakhstan’s World No. 31 Alexander Bublik in the first round of the main tournament.

“I haven’t thought about the next match. I need to enjoy this moment, it has been a while that I have played the main draw in a Slam, so I am going to enjoy the night, call my parents and chill with my coach and then think about the next match.

“I am not even sure if I will be playing Monday or Tuesday yet but once Sunday comes, will look into it. But super excited and looking forward to be on the court for the main draw matches.”

Currently World No. 139 in singles, this is Nagal’s second main draw appearance in the season’s first Grand Slam after his entry in 2021. Nagal went down to Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in the opening round 2-6, 5-7, 3-6 that year.

After that no Indian has made it to the singles main draw before his own feat this year.

Nagal had also made it to the U.S. Open main draw in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019 U.S. Open, Nagal had stretched legendary Roger Federer to four sets at the Flushing Meadows before losing 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 4-6.

A year later, the Indian managed to enter the second round of the season’s final Grand Slam beating host nation’s Bradley Klahn in the first round 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

But Nagal went down to second seed and eventual champion Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.

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