Sumit Nagal’s Impressive Victory over Matteo Arnaldi at Monte Carlo Masters 2024

Sumit Nagal, ranked 93rd globally, triumphed over world No. 38 Matteo Arnaldi in the first round of the prestigious ATP 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo.

Nagal’s remarkable comeback from an opening-set deficit showcased his prowess on the clay courts, marking a significant milestone in his career.

Sumit Nagal’s Impressive Victory over Matteo Arnaldi at Monte Carlo Masters 2024

With its vivid red clay courts and stunning views of the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea, the ATP Monte Carlo Masters boasts one of the most attractive venues of any tennis competition. After winning in the qualifying round this year, Sumit Nagal, who had a taste of its magnificence, referred to the arena as one of the most exquisite tennis facilities globally.

In addition, Nagal can now brag of handily handing out one of his greatest wins of his career there.

In the first round of the ATP 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo on Monday, the 93rd-ranked Indian overcame an early set deficit to defeat world No. 38 Matteo Arnaldi, the 23-year-old Italian with great promise, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. This set up a matchup with world No. 7 Holger Rune.

After advancing past the qualifying stages, Nagal achieved his first Masters main draw victory—the highest on the ATP tour—ticking off another major achievement in his brilliant start to the season, which has already seen him defeat a seeded rival at the Australian Open and into the top 100. In addition, Nagal becomes the first Indian to triumph in a clay-court ATP Masters main draw singles match. At Monte Carlo, he makes his first main draw appearance as an Indian solo professional in more than 40 years.

After the victory, Nagal remarked, “Milestones are nice.” “From my perspective, it was a pretty excellent match. In the second and third sets, I performed at a very high level and managed to win.

Not only is this Nagal’s third victory against a player ranked in the top 50, but it’s also his third-largest career win in terms of opponent rankings, surpassed only by his victories over then-27 Alexander Bublik at the Australian Open and Cristian Garin (22) in the ATP 250 Buenos Aires event in 2021 before he had hip surgery later that year.

This season, he has won three of his five greatest matches, including two in the last three days, which speaks to the current state of physical and mental dominance for Nagal.

Right now, I’m just loving the game and the competitive atmosphere. This is the best I could wish for, considering the last few years I lost so much time,” he remarked.

He was also “looking forward to from the past few weeks” to playing on clay, a surface on which Nagal is more at ease and primarily refines his talents at his training base in Germany. After his run at the Australian Open, his victory at the Chennai Challenger, and his breakthrough into the top 100, Nagal turned to clay and felt right at home. He defeated 61st-ranked Lorenzo Sonego in a three-setter at the ATP 250 Marrakech after defeating 99th-ranked Corentin Moutet in the first round.

For the Indian, the first 1000 event on the clay court swing would be the Monte Carlo Masters. But Nagal took a stand for himself. He easily defeated 63rd-ranked Flavio Cobolli of Italy to get to the main draw. In the qualifying stages, he defeated 53rd-ranked Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina.

This matched him against Arnaldi, who is skilled on clay and advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the 2023 US Open. In the sixth game, the Italian put the first dent in the Indian’s serve to take the break, but Nagal immediately broke again. In an attempt to force a tiebreaker, Nagal’s serve stumbled once more, giving Arnaldi the opening set. But Nagal believed he could turn it around, and he had a plan.

“I realized that I was winning most of the points as the rally grew longer. My objective was to try to alter my approach a little bit, and I felt that things had gotten a little simpler for me when I could control the points better.

After blocking a break point in the following game, Nagal emerged victorious and took the early lead in the third game. From then on, he dominated the match. In the second set, Nagal overcame Arnaldi’s serve twice more, putting persistent pressure on it. In the third game of the final, Nagal led by a break once more. His poise allowed him to break back quickly and advance to the second round, even though Arnaldi tied the score in the sixth game.

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