Home News Sumit Nagal makes history at Monte Carlo Masters

Sumit Nagal makes history at Monte Carlo Masters

by GP
Sumit Nagal tennis

Indian Sumit Nagal became the first ever Indian to win a main draw match at the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Italian Matteo Arnoldi. Currently ranked 93 in the world, Nagal defeated a player ranked 38 when battling back from a set down to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

Nagal is the first male Indian player to win an ATP Masters 1000 match on clay. His reward is a clash with seventh-seeded Dane Holger Rune who finished runner-up in this event 12 months’ ago. 26-year-old Nagal first caught the eye when winning the Wimbledon Boys’ Doubles title in 2015 in partnership with Ly Hoang Nam of Vietnam.

He has been a regular in his nation’s Davis Cup squad since 2018 but is arguably in the form of his life at the moment. 2024 has seen him break into the Top 100 as well as achieve his first Australian Open victory and make his Masters debut. He is undoubtedly an emerging talent and follows in the illustrious footsteps of Indian greats such as Leander Paes and Vijay Amritraj.

Great Start for Auger-Aliassime

Another first round headline maker in Monte Carlo was Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime who played a fantastic match to beat Italian Luca Nardi 6-2, 6-3 in 82 minutes to advance to round two. This is the first victory on a clay court for Felix since Lyon in 2023 and he will now face world number 3 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain. Auger-Aliassime currently holds a 3-2 advantage over Alcaraz in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series but they are yet to meet on clay.

Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans both suffered first round exits in Monte Carlo. Dan Evans was comfortably beaten by Austrian Sebastian Ofner 6-1, 6-4 and is yet to win back-to-back singles matches on the ATP tour this year. Norrie missed two set points to level his tie with Karen Khachanov before going down 7-5, 7-6. He led 5-3 but failed to press home his advantage and he could not get a foothold in the tie-break as the Russian sealed the match 7-3. Khachanov will now face Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo who beat German Daniel Altmaier 6-3. 7-6.

Alcaraz still favorite

Other first round winners include Australian Alexei Popyrin and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Pre-tournament betting favourite Alcaraz is a general 7-4 shot ahead of Jannik Sinner at 11-4 and Novak Djokovic at 100-30. Djokovic has made no secret of the fact that he has no great expectations for Monte Carlo this year, despite being a two-time winner. Those victories were back in 2013 and 2015 and he has not gone deeper than the quarter-finals since.

Djokovic will be without former coach Goran Ivanisevic with the pair splitting at the end of last month. They combined to win 12 major titles over six years and it will be fascinating to see how the Serbian performs in his absence. His opening tie is against qualifier Roman Safiullin of Russia who is currently ranked 41 in the world. They met in Tel Aviv in 2022 with Djokovic winning 6-1, 7-6.

Written by Bonnie Kilgore

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