Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran took Indian tennis to another step as they participated in the US Open against Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev respectively in the first round of the tournament. While Prajnesh lost to Medvedev 4-6, 1-6, 2-6, Sumit Nagal put up a stellar performance against Swiss ace Roger Federer initially following which he was knocked out. The fighting spirit shone through in Nagal's dream Grand Slam debut as he took a set off the iconic Roger Federer before fizzling out at the game. In the much-anticipated clash, the 22-year old from Jhajjar lost 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 after giving a glimpse of his talent at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night.
Noting the performances of the two youngsters, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju congratulated both Nagal and Prajnesh on their bright performances in the US Open. Kiren Rijiju said that both the youngsters displayed extremely good talent in the court and said that they had a bright future ahead. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju hoped that Nagal and Prajnesh would set a good precedent to those who are aspiring to be tennis players and said that the status and condition of the game could improve because of players like Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh. Here's what Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had to say to both the youngsters:
Prajnesh and Sumit are our new potential STARS on the horizon🎾 Keep it up, focus and train harder. We are behind you👍 pic.twitter.com/ZAl08ZWTVP— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) August 28, 2019
Federer endured a shaky start to the match but for Nagal it was the best he would have felt on a tennis court. The Indian stunned the crowd by breaking Federer's serve in the third game with the Swiss committing a double fault on the second breakpoint. While a "rusty" Federer was still measuring up his newest rival, ranked 190 in the ATP charts, Nagal, with his deep returns, was setting up winners -- some eye-catching inside-out forehands. While many would not have expected such a sight, Nagal further shocked the crowd when he broke Federer for the second time and served out the set after being down 0-30. Hitting deep returns and going for his shots fearlessly and not allowing Federer to come on to the net were key to Nagal's first-set exploits even as the Swiss struggled to contain his unforced errors. Federer had 19 unforced errors to 9 of Nagal in the opener. The anticipation grew but Federer shook off the rustiness to dismantle Nagal's game after that. He began serving well, if not his best, and dictated the play with his strong returns, killing points at will at the net.