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Tokyo Olympics: Sumit Nagal enters second round; Manika-Sharath knocked out

India’s highest-ranked singles tennis player Sumit Nagal set his feet into the second round. Current world no. 144 Nagal, cruised into the second round after defeating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in a hard-fought battle 6-4, 6-7(6-8), 6-4.

In a very competitive first set, Sumit Nagal converted his chances well and broke the Uzbek player’s serve to take a 1-0 lead. Istomin who got his chances was poor in the decisive moments. After taking a 5-3 lead in the second set, Sumit who was on the verge of winning couldn’t hold on to his serve and lost the set 6-7 (6-8) in a tiebreaker. Istomin who was struggling to convert his breakpoints finally came well in the clutch and made it 1-1. Istomin had a very good start in the third set and broke Sumit’s serve. Sumit under pressure held his nerves and broke Istomin’s serve twice and took the final set 6-4. He also became the first singles player from India to qualify for the second round since 1996.

Nagal will now face World No.2 Danii Medvedev in the second round.

In Table Tennis, the mixed doubles pair of Achanta Sarath Kamal and Manika Batra crashed out from the round of 16 as woes for India in the Olympics continued. The 3rd seeded Chinese Taipei pair of Lin Yun JU and Cheng I Ching had a brilliant outing as they beat the Indian pair in straight sets 11-8, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4.

After initially taking the lead in the first set, the Indian pair couldn’t hold on. The Chinese Taipei pair made a brilliant comeback and scored 8 consecutive points to take the first set 11-8. This trend continued throughout the second set and again after taking the lead, the Indian team couldn’t capitalize. The Chinese Taipei pair scored 6 points in a row to close the second set 11-6. Once they won the second set, there was no looking back for them. The 3rd seeded Chinese Taipei pair gave no chance to the Indians and closed the last two sets 11-5, 11-4 very quickly.

After a disappointing outing in the mixed doubles category, Manika Batra will look to redeem herself in the singles competition when she will take on British paddler Tin-Tin Ho.

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