“Coming early was the key here… Every match you play, for sure you feel better” – Sumit Nagal after his upset win over fourth seed Ryan Peniston at Round 1 of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger 2023

Qualifier Sumit Nagal had a straight sets upset win over fourth seed Ryan Peniston to reach the second round of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger 2023. Nagal, won two matches in qualifying to earn his spot in the main draw, needed one hour and 54 minutes to defeat 147th– ranked Peniston 6-4, 6-4. He will now meet lucky loser Jason Jung for a place in the quarter-finals. Here are a few excerpts from his post-match interview.

Q: First, congrats on the win. You were unhappy with a few calls. Does that sort of break the momentum in any way?

Sumit: “No, I think I mean wrong call happens and anywhere where there’s a human sitting and making calls. One call – I was not very happy with it, to be honest. That was pretty far out. But other than that, yeah, mistakes happen. And it didn’t affect me in a lot.”

Q: You had him cornered, a couple of times in both sets and you sort of couldn’t convert those break points. Can you talk about that and your overall performance?

Sumit: “Those big points, I think he served very well, didn’t really have it have a point where I would say I was in an attacking position. I was mostly either defence or neutral. I’m sure maybe one return I would have taken a bigger swing. But, I don’t think I played too bad on the break points. Yeah, I mean, the guy is also good, you know, you have to, you have to also give it to him.”

Q: You played multiple inside out forehand cross-court winners, was that part of your strategy going into the match?

Sumit: “I wouldn’t say so. That’s just my strength. Tennis is about who’s gonna use their strength right. Use their strength against their opponent’s weakness.”

Q: Having played two qualifying matches before this, did help you today in terms of acclimatisation?

Sumit: “I think so. Like I said yesterday, coming early was the key here because everyone knows that it’s not easy to get used to humidity. Heat – yeah, I mean, it’s not so hot. It’s the humidity that gets you. Every match you play, for sure you feel better.”

Q: You asked for the physio on court towards the end, what was it for?

Sumit: “It was just about acidity. I was struggling with it so I asked for the physio.”

Q: You’re the only Indian left in the draw. Does that slightly add to the pressure?

Sumit: “No, not really.”

Q: You’ll be playing with Mukund soon in the doubles, have you had a chance to practice with him?  

Sumit: “No, not really. That also, but I mean doubles was just not my primary focus. I’ll go practice tomorrow, play doubles and see how it goes.”

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the match today?

Sumit: “I think I would say that way I handled the points. Figuring out which things are working and which are not working. Realising those things was the key today.”

Photos by Srividya Balayogi

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