Tokyo 2020: Sumit Nagal wins opening round match against Istomin in three sets

The 23-year-old Nagal will next meet World No.2 Daniil Medvedev, the highest-ranked opponent he will ever face in his career.

Nagal came back after losing the second set to win the match in three. (File photo)   -  AP

Sumit Nagal became only the third Indian to record a singles match win at the Olympics, with a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 victory over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin on Saturday. Previously, only Zeeshan Ali (Seoul 1988) and Leander Paes (Atlanta 1996) had won singles matches at the quadrennial extravaganza.

The 23-year-old Nagal will next meet World No.2 Daniil Medvedev, the highest-ranked opponent he will ever face in his career.

Nagal led Istomin by a set and a break but saw his opponent stage a comeback and stretch the match. The World No. 160 turned it around in the decider, winning the set 6-4. In an error-ridden contest, Nagal hit only 11 winners, while Istomin 12. But crucially, Nagal saved 12 of 14 break-point opportunities Istomin had, while he converted four of the five on the Uzbek’s serve.

READ| Tokyo Olympics tennis: Djokovic, Medvedev lead calls for delayed start due to heat

On the day, World No.1 Novak Djokovic made a winning start to his historic quest for the ‘golden’ Grand Slam, beating Bolivian Hugo Dellien 6-2, 6-2. But the Serb suffered under the heat and humidity in Tokyo, which he felt were some of the toughest conditions he had ever faced.

Top-10 players and Major champions like Iga Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova won their respective singles matches, while France’s Ugo Humbert, Italian Fabio Fognini, and Croatian Marin Cilic also recorded victories.

Former World No.4 Kiki Bertens bid farewell to her singles career, following a three-set defeat to Marketa Vondrousova. The Dutchwoman is will still be playing the doubles and mixed doubles events but the Tokyo Games will be her last tournament.

In doubles, Andy Murray and Garbine Muguruza made victorious starts.

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