The number one player in Vietnam lost 6-7(3), 7-5, 4-6 after three hours and 19 minutes of competition.
After the milestone at Wimbledon in 2015, Sumit Nagal improved continuously and once rose to 122nd in the world. But constant injuries last season caused the Indian tennis player to drop to 409th place when he faced his former teammate in the first round of the Challenger 100 in Bengaluru.
Although they are 125 levels behind in ATP, the match is balanced. In the first set, Ly Hoang Nam was the first to lose the game and was led 1-2. The Vietnamese player equalized 2-2 after winning the next ball game, then took the lead 4-2.
But Ly Hoang Nam could not take advantage of that advantage to end the set. He lost another match, before being dragged into the tie-break by Nagal – where the Indian player played better to win 7-3.
The tug-of-war continued in the second set. The sudden pain when the score was tied 4-4 made Nagal need medical attention. The Indian player lost his flexibility when he returned to the court and ended up losing 5-7 in this set.
In the decisive set, Ly Hoang Nam had a chance to win the match but missed. In the 10th game, the Vietnamese player held the serve while leading 4-5. Up to 12 times the score is balanced 40-40. Ly Hoang Nam saved four match-points and had eight game-point chances to bring the match back to balance.
Nagal successfully took advantage of the fifth match-point to close the dramatic marathon, thereby winning tickets to the second round of Bengaluru Open 2023 – a tournament in the ATP Challenger 100 system with a total prize money of 130,000 USD.
After Chennai, this is the second Challenger 100 in a row that Ly Hoang Nam has been eliminated early. The Vietnamese tennis player also attends one more tournament in India – Pune Challenger 100, which will take place from February 27 to March 5.