Melbourne | Indian tennis ace Sumit Nagal stunned world number 27 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan in straight sets to enter the Australian Open second round for the first time in his career here on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Nagal, who made it to the main draw through the qualifiers, beat 31st seed Bublik 6-4 6-2 7-6(7-5) in a gruelling match that lasted two hours and 38 minutes.
This would be Nagal's first ever progression to the Australian Open second round. In 2021, he had lost to Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis in the opening round 2-6, 5-7, 3-6.
The world number 139 Indian will be playing in the second round of a Grand Slam event for the second time in his career.
In the 2020 US Open, Nagal had lost to second seed and eventual champion Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round.
Nagal's win on Tuesday was the first time in 35 years that an Indian beat a seeded player in a Grand Slam.
The last time it happened was back in 1989 when Ramesh Krishnan won over Mats Wilander, the then world number one and defending champion at the Australian Open.
Nagal was off to an impressive start as he broke Bublik in the first game of the match but he also failed to hold on to his own serve next as the scoreline read 1-1.
The Indian then broke his opponent's serve twice later in the first set to take it 6-4 in 42 minutes.
Nagal played even better in the second set as he broke serve of his opponent twice while holding his own all through to win 6-2 in 43 minutes.
In the third set, both the players held their serve till the seventh game when Nagal broke his opponent to take a 4-3 lead. He then cruised ahead at 5-3.
The Indian then served for the match at 5-4 but failed to hold. The third set then went to the tie-breaker which Nagal eventually winning 7-5.