CHENNAI: Going into the 2018 Chennai Open Challenger, India’s Sumit Nagal had made all the right noises. Building on his maiden Challenger title in Bengaluru in November last year, a supremely confident Nagal decided to rope in Spaniard Javier Herrera last month to raise his game to the next level.
The proceedings on the opening day of the Challenger here, however, showed that there is still a long way to go for the fifth seed. The 20-year-old from Haryana went down to France’s unseeded Antoine Escoffier 3-6, 3-6.
In the opening game itself, Nagal committed a couple of errors that could have otherwise been avoided.
As the match progressed, he didn’t seem to learn and it cost him dear as early as in the third game when he sent a forehand long to hand Escoffier a break of serve. Provided a fillip so early on, Escoffier made sure that he capitalised on it and wrapped up the first set 6-3.
In actual fact, there were a couple of opportunities presented to Nagal to break back, but the youngster failed to step up and deliver on the big points. Escoffier, on the other hand, came up with some of his best tennis when under pressure on his serve. —AP