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Sumit Nagal Wins Heilbronner Neckarcup Challenger, Set To Qualify For Olympics


File photo of Sumit Nagal© X (formerly Twitter)




India’s top ranked singles player Sumit Nagal won the Heilbronner Neckarcup ATP Challenger event beating Alexander Ritschard of Switzerland in three hard-fought sets 6-1, 7-6(7-5), 6-3 on Sunday. With this title triumph, he will be entering the top 80 of the ATP Rankings, making him eligible to compete in the Paris Olympics next month. The official announcement is expected on Monday. Third seed Nagal did not have it easy, as unseeded Ritschard did provide stiff competition in second and third sets respectively. It was a dominant start for the Indian, who earned a couple of breaks to outplay the Swiss in the opening set 6-1. Despite Nagal earning a break in the second set, Ritschard broke back and took the set to the tie-breaker, where the latter was the evident force, winning 7-6(7-5).

As things entered the deciding set, the two carried the same competitive momentum from the previous set.

While Nagal earned an opening break, Ritschard broke back instantly. However, the former rallied hard to break again which proved to be decisive.

Serving for the championship, the Indian lost three match points before eventually capitalizing on the fourth chance and winning 6-3.

It is Nagal’s second Challenger title of the year, having won the Chennai Open in February. Overall, it is his sixth Challenger title and fourth on clay.

The 26-year-old made headlines at the start of the year, in January, when he made it to the main draw of the Australian Open Grand Slam before bowing out in the second round.

Later, he also entered the main draw of the Indian Wells Masters and Monte-Carlo Masters.

In Heilbronner, Nagal overcame challenges from Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, Javier Barranco Cosano of Spain, Ivan Gakhov of Russia and Luca Van Assche of France before entering the final.

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