India’s Sumit Nagal marched into the second round of the Australian Open 2024, beating ATP world no. 27 Alexander Bublik. Nagal overpowered his opponent in the first two sets, winning by convincing margins of 6-4 and 6-2. The third set, however, proved to be an intense contest, with the two players going neck-to-neck in the first six games. Nagal then broke Bublik to take 4-3 advantage, before making it 5-3. But, drama was yet to unfold in the third set.
Bublik managed to make it 4-5 by winning the next game without dropping the point, giving Nagal the opportunity to serve for a place in the second round. The Indian let the occasion get to him and failed to hold his serve, with the Kazakhstan star making it 5-5.
Both players held their respective games to force the game into a tie-breaker where Nagal emerged triumphant 7-5. It was the first time since 1989 that an Indian had beaten a seeded player in the Australian Open history. Nagal defeated his opponent in straight sets — 6-4, 6-2, 7-6.
Nagal’s second-round qualification is a memorable feat in tennis history for Indians. When it comes to men’s singles events, the furthest any Indian tennis player has reached at the Australian Open is the third round.
The legendary Ramesh Krishnan had qualified for the third round a total of five times in his career at the Australian Open. He did so in the 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, and 1989 editions. He had also famously beaten world No. 1 Mats Wilander in the second round in 1989.
Vijay Amritraj is another Indiain who has gone beyond the first round in the Australian Open. He made it to the second round at the 1984 Australian Open while Leander Paes also did so on multiple occasions, in 1997 and 2000.
When it comes to India’s recent tennis history, the now-retired Somdev Devvarman did manage to qualify for the second round at the 2013 Australian Open.