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ATP CHALLENGER | Wild-card entrant Mukund stops a fighting Kasnikowski

Sumit Nagal in action against S.D. Prajwal Dev in the first round of the ATP Challenger Chennai Open tennis on Tuesday, February 6, 2024.
| Photo Credit: R. RAGU

India’s Sumit Nagal and S. Mukund posted contrasting wins in the first round of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger tennis championship here on Tuesday.

India’s top player Nagal had an easy day at the office, beating qualifier S.D. Prajwal Dev 6-1, 6-2 while wild card entrant Mukund eked out a fighting 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over Maks Kasnikowski of Poland in two hours and 25 minutes.

Earlier, in the first match at the Centre Court, Australia’s Bernard Tomic, a former top 20 player in the world, changed all his six T-shirts in hot and humid conditions to defeat Olaf Pieczkowski of Poland 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(2). Tomic will take on the top-seed Luca Nardi of Italy in the second round.

Mukund led 5-3 in the third set and even had a match point on the Pole’s serve in the ninth game, but failed to capitalise. Mukund finally sealed the match in the 11th game when Kasnikowski’s backhand went wide.

Prajwal was no match for Nagal in the first set. However, in the second set, the qualifier got his groundstrokes going from the baseline and started to trouble Nagal. He, however, wasn’t consistent enough.

Nagal will meet Giovanni Fonio of Italy in the second round. “It was a good first round match. I played solid in the two sets. It was unfortunate that two Indians ended up playing each other,” Nagal said.

The results: Luca Nardi (Ita) bt Eric Vanshelboim (Ukr) 6-2, 6-2; Sumit Nagal bt S. D. Prajwal Dev 6-1, 6-2; Dalibor Svrcina (Cze) bt Bogdan Bobrov (Rus) 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Ugo Blanchet (Fra) bt Jonas Forejtek (Cze) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5); Samuel Vincent Ruggeri (Ita) bt Aziz Dougaz (Tun) 6-3, 6-3; Bernard Tomic (Aus) bt Olaf Pieczkowski (Pol) 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2); S. Mukund bt Maks Kasnikowski (Pol) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5; Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) bt Tung-Lin Wu (Tpe) 3-2 (retd.).

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