US Open: Thiem eases past Nagal to reach third round

Dominic Thiem outclassed India's Sumit Nagal 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in the U.S. Open second round match on Thursday to move into the third round.

India's Sumit Nagal admitted that he gave away too many free points to Dominic Thiem in the second-round defeat.   -  ap

Dominic Thiem brought a high-flying Sumit Nagal quickly down to earth, beating the India No.1 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the US Open on Thursday.

Nagal, who two days ago had become the first Indian in seven years to win a Grand Slam singles match, did well to stay with the tournament’s second seed in the first set, even clawing his way back from 0-3 down to get back on serve.

But hopes of him matching his feat from last year, when he pinched a set off Roger Federer at the same Arthur Ashe Stadium, quickly dissipated once the World No.3 found his groove and was able to unleash his firepower.

“It was a tough match. He is a few levels ahead of me,” Nagal told the media after the match. “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 mistakes that will rankle him the most came in his service games. Like he had in his first-round win, Nagal continued to land a high percentage of his first serves (71%). But disappointingly, he won just 56% of those. Thiem, in contrast, got 64% of first serves in but won three-fourths of the points. 

“The plan was to play with a high percentage of first serves,” Nagal said.  “But I gave away too many free points.”

US Open: Sumit Nagal through to second round  

Asked if a superior serving speed could have helped – Nagal’s average first-serve was 100mph to Thiem’s 113mph – the 23-year-old said it wouldn’t have made a difference. “If I want to, I can hit 200 [kmph], 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.”

Regardless of the defeat, the World No. 124 said the last few weeks were educative. Prior to New York, he played an ATP Challenger in Prague, where he stretched three-time Major champion Stan Wawrinka to three sets before losing.

“Experience has been a big positive. You don't get to play too often against such big players and Grand Slam champions. 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.”

If he can put these learnings to practice at his next tournament – the French Open qualifiers in less than three weeks’ time – it will be a job well done.

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