Despite putting up a brilliant effort against the 20-times Grand Slam winner, Nagal went down 6-4, 1-6, 2-6 and 4-6 putting an end to his US Open journey.
The 22-year-old Indian used impressive court coverage and sent heavily-spinning shots over the net during his dream start but his legs started to look more wobbly as the match wore and Federer righted the ship.
Nagal, certainly took advantage of the opportunity in the biggest match of his career to date. The World No. 190 walked onto Arthur Ashe Stadium Monday evening for his first Grand Slam main draw match without having ever earned a tour-level victory. But the 22-year-old showed little fear against Federer, who made 19 unforced errors hence losing the first set to Indian raising star Nagal.
“Never easy to come out and play your best. Even though it’s kind of what you live for, you dream about, playing on the big stage. So I think he did that very well,” said Federer.
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Sumit Nagal became the first Indian to take a set off Roger Federer when he came back from being 2-0 down to win it 6-4, shocking the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd that was rallying behind the 5-time champion.
The world number 3 Federer made a strong come back in the second set, winning it by 6-1. However, Nagal made Federer fight for each point. It is interesting to note that at the end of the second set, Federer has made 33 unforced errors, while Nagal made only 19.
The 38-year-old Federer was in no mood to slow down and he carried the momentum in the third set, and he easily wrapped up the set 6-2.
In the fourt set of the match, Federer showed his class but Nagal too displayed his firm resolve. Though it was not enough for Nagal to push the match into final set, it never seemed that Nagal was out of the place. He was very much in the game and he surprised Federer from time to time with some astonishing returns to powerful serves by Federer. Nagal lost the set 4-6.
It is the first time since 1998 that two Indians are part of the singles main draw in a Grand Slam after Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the 1998 Wimbledon.
The shock first set was a wake-up call for Federer, who was 61-0 in Grand Slam first rounds since the 2003 French Open.
“Just tried to forget it, play tough, stay with him. It was a tough first set for me,” Federer said. “He came back and played really strong. I was missing a lot of balls and trying to cut back on unforced errors.”
“He knows what he can bring. That’s why I think he’s going to have a very solid career.” Federer added about Nagal.
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