Tennis at Tokyo 2020: Indian challenge all but over with Nagal's loss

Nagal, who had become the first Indian in 25 years to win a singles match at the Olympics, was no match for Daniil Medvedev.

Sumit Nagal in action against Daniil Medvedev on Monday.   -  PTI

The Indian challenge in tennis at Tokyo 2020 all but ended on Monday, following Sumit Nagal’s meek 2-6, 1-6 loss to World no. 2 Daniil Medvedev.

The nation will now wait with bated breath for the mixed doubles draw to be announced on Tuesday to see if the Sania Mirza-Nagal pair make it. The chances, though, are slim, with the duo’s combined ranking of 153 expected to leave them outside the top-16 team bracket.

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Nagal, who had become the first Indian in 25 years to win a singles match at the Olympics with the defeat of Denis Istomin earlier in the competition, was no match for the Russian. He lost serve in the first game of both sets, leaving him to play catch-up throughout.

The 23-year-old Indian also didn’t help himself by committing five double faults and allowing Medvedev 11 opportunities to break his serve, of which the latter took five.

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The day also saw some high-profile upsets in the women’s draw with Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, Poland’s Iga Swiatek and Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova all crashing out. Sabalenka lost to Croatia’s Donna Vekic in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(3), despite fighting back impressively after losing the first set and going a break up early in the third.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, succumbed to Spain’s Paula Badosa 3-6, 6-7(4), while Kvitova was beaten by Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck 5-7, 6-3, 6-0. In the men’s section, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic fell to Spain Pablo Carreno Busta, 7-5, 4-6, 4-6.

There were, however, routine wins for Naomi Osaka, Alexander Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Garbine Muguruza, Barbora Krejcikova among others. Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova had to break some sweat, requiring three sets to defeat Ajla Tomljanovic and Carla Suarez Navarro respectively.

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