Sumit Nagal sets up quarter-final clash with Stan Wawrinka in Prague

The Indian beat home hope Jiri Lehecka to reach the last eight and is also competing in the men’s doubles alongside Ilya Ivashka in the ATP Challenger tournament.

By Subhayan Dutta

Top-ranked Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal came from behind to win his pre-quarterfinal against Czech Republic’s Jiri Lehecka 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 at the Prague Challenger on Wednesday.

The world No. 127 is playing his first ATP tournament since the worldwide lockdown started in March. Nagal had reached the last-16 after UK’s Jay Clarke got injured in the second round.

Wednesday’s clash was yet another gruelling test for the Haryana player who had to fight for two hours and 21 minutes before advancing to the quarter-final stage.

Sumit Nagal had started well by taking the first break and led 3-2 in the first set before his opponent returned stronger to break in the 10th and 12th games and win the first set 7-5.

World No. 127 Sumit Nagal entered the ATP Prague Challenger as the sixth seed. Image courtesy: TOM media

The second set saw Nagal breaking Lehecka in the very first game before the Czech returned the favour immediately. The duo exchanged breaks again in the sixth and the ninth games to force the tie-breaker. However, Nagal held his nerves to win it 7-4.

By the third set, Lehecka was hardly in the match as US Open qualifier Nagal was seen stealing two breaks - the second and the fourth games - to lead 5-0.

Though Lehecka showed late determination to take a break off the Indian and make the scoreline 2-5, it wasn’t enough as Nagal sealed the match 5-7, 7(7)-6(4), 6-3.

The journey is going to get tougher for the sixth seed as he will face three-time Grand Slam winner and Olympic gold medallist Stan Wawrinka in the quarters after the Swiss defeated Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Sumit Nagal will also be competing in the doubles category as well at the £137,560 clay event alongside Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka.

They are drawn against the New Zealand-Slovakian duo of Artem Sitak and Igor Zelenay.