Sumit Nagal sees positives in US Open loss to Thiem

World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, too, called India's Sumit Nagal a ‘dangerous’ opponent after their US Open clash.

By Utathya Nag

Sumit Nagal may have gone down in straight sets to world number three Dominic Thiem in the second round of the US Open singles event, but the Indian tennis player was upbeat after his exit in New York.

Nagal believes the experience gained by clashing against top players like Thiem, will only help him get better.

“Experience has been a big positive. You don't get to play too often against such big players and Grand Slam champions,” Sumit Nagal told The Hindu in a post-match chat.

“They are so consistent at what they do. That’s what I need to include in my game, how I start and finish with good focus, energy and discipline,” Nagal said.

Sumit Nagal lost his US Open second-round singles match against Dominic Thiem.

During the match, Sumit Nagal showed flashes of brilliance, particularly in the first set when he came back from being 3-0 down to level things up, but failed to replicate it throughout the match which the Austrian won 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

“It was a tough match. Thiem is a few levels ahead of me. He has more experience and knows how to play better on courts like this. That's where he was ahead and I was always trying to chase him and made too many errors,” the Indian analysed the contest.

The world No. 124 Indian was guilty of making too many unforced errors but more than anything, it was his service game that let Nagal down. Compared to Thiem, who won 74 per cent of his first-serve points, Nagal managed just 56 per cent.

The Indian’s conversion rate on the second serves was even worse, winning just 38 per cent of them. Additionally, Nagal was considerably slower with his serves averaging 97 miles per hour to the Austrian’s 108 miles per hour.

Nagal, however, refused to pinpoint that as the reason behind his loss and said his inexperience was a big factor.

“If I want to, I can hit 200 km per hour (125 miles per hour), but that’s not the point. I think I will get better with experience. The more matches I play, the more I will learn to be disciplined and not get carried away. I had to stick to a game plan but today there were phases where I didn't.”

Dominic Thiem lauds ‘dangerous’ Sumit Nagal

Nagal’s opponent Thiem, meanwhile, admitted that contrary to what the scoreline may suggest, he had to bring his A-game to defeat his 23-year-old Nagal.

“I had a good plan for the match. He's (Nagal) very dangerous when he can dictate with his forehand. I was exactly trying to avoid that. He has also very, very fast legs.

“I was trying to play my fastest tennis to keep him on the backhand, to not let him dictate with the forehand. I did that very well today,” the three-time Grand Slam finalist said.