Tokyo Olympics: Sumit Nagal beats Denis Istomin to win singles Tennis match for India after 25 years

India last won a singles match at the Olympics in Tennis when Leander Paes bagged a bronze medal at the 1996 Atalanta Games.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 24 July 2021 2:11 pm

If it wasn't surprising enough that Sumit Nagal made a late Olympic entry on July 16, he has stunned the nation again but this time in a pleasant way as the country moved into the second round after defeating Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. Representing Uzbekistan, former world number 33, Dennis Istomin was no match for a determined Sumit Nagal. Although the 34-year-old gave a solid fight. The match lasted over 2 hours and 30 minutes and eventually it was Nagal who emerged as the winner. He has hence booked himself a berth with Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

It should be noted that India last won a singles match at the Olympics in Tennis when Leander Paes bagged a bronze medal at the 1996 Atalanta Games. Since then, this is the country's first-ever win in the singles category in this sport.

Istomin struggled for form and consistency

Nagal, who did not have much hope of securing an Olympic berth, managed it after several withdrawals happened and in no time Nagal was on the roster and in a tricky draw. As far as Istomin is concerned, who at one stage was world number 33, slipped down to 197 rank and struggled to find top form in this game. The 23-year-old, by contrast, won the match comprehensively after a three-set affair went to a tie-breaker in the second.

With Nagal forging into the second round, India's hope in the Men's Singles remain alive. In addition, the country would also have its eyes set on the women's doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina as they will be opening their campaign against the Kichenok sisters.

We’ll need to punch way beyond our weight to make a mark at Tokyo: Sania Mirza

"Ankita will be playing for the first time against some of the best players in the world and on a big stage. She’s a fighter and understands that we’ll need to punch way beyond our weight to make a mark against odds in Tokyo,” the 34-year-old veteran was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

"I’ve always wanted to carry on with my professional dream even after my marriage and the birth of my son (Izhaan). I’m happy and proud I’m able to live my dream," she added.

For now, India is elated at Sumit's historic win and cherishing the silver medal bagged by Mirabai Chanu at the 49 Kg women's weightlifting event.

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