Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger: Sumit Nagal Loses Semi-Final In Straight Sets

After an intense 2 hour and 17 minutes-long match, Italy's Stefano Napolitano overwhelmed Sumit Nagal 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger 2024. The Indian had won the Challenger title in Chennai last week


Bengaluru Open
India's Sumit Nagal in action during his singles semi-final match against Italy's Stefano Napolitano at the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger 2024 on Saturday, February 17 at KSLTA Stadium. Photo: Bengaluru Open

Sumit Nagal could not handle the cunning approach and nerve of Italy's Stefano Napolitano as the second seeded Indian bowed out of the Bengaluru Open with his semi-final defeat at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association Stadium on Saturday. (More Tennis News)

Napolitano, the seventh seed, overwhelmed Nagal 7-6 (2), 6-4 after an intense 2 hour and 17 minutes match.

He will face ninth seed Seongchan Hong of South Korea in the title clash on Sunday. In the first semifinal match, Hong defeated eighth seed Spaniard Oriol Batalla 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni clinched the doubles crown after defeating Maxime Janvier and Constantine Kouzmine of France 6-3, 6-4 in the final.


It was the second title in a row for Ramkumar and Saketh as they had won the title in Chennai last week.

As is his wont in this tournament, Nagal began the match with an early break in the second game to establish a 2-0 lead in the opening set, which he soon swelled into 4-1 after holding his serve in the third and fifth games.

Everything was functioning so smoothly for Nagal in this phase as his powerful serve and forehands found their trajectory to perfection.

But Napolitano began his counter-punch from that point and the first hint came in the shape of a break in the seventh game. A wide forehand from Nagal gave him the break and a much-needed foothold.


The Italian held the next game to go level at 4-4 and from there both the players managed to retain their serves to make it 6-6 as the first set entered the tie-break, a first for Nagal in this event.

Napolitano exploited Nagal’s weakness on the backhand very cleverly in the tie-break, hitting constantly to that side to frustrate his rival.

Napolitano soon built a 3-0 lead and never ceded the ground and won the set 7-2, and fittingly, it was Nagal’s backhand that hit the net to give the Italian the crucial point.

The second saw Napolitano take a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game with a stunning forehand down the line winner.

However, Nagal broke back immediately in the third game to make the scoreline 1-2 and he took an extended medical time out to tend to his playing hand.

It seemed to have rejuvenated the Indian as he held his serve in the fourth game without much fuss to go level at 2-2.

A clutch of unforced errors by Napolitano helped Nagal earn a break in the fifth game and take 3-2 lead, and he appeared to have hit the overdrive.

But the joy was short lived as Napolitano effected a break in the sixth game as Nagal drove a backhand, his Achilles Heel on this day, into the net. The score went level at 3-3.


It might have just knocked the stuffing out of the Indian as he looked a tad jaded and his movements slowed down considerably from thereon.

The seventh, eighth and ninth games were gone by serves despite Nagal struggling with his serves and ground shots.

But it was clear that Napolitano was having a slight edge over his opponent, and that translated into a winning break in the 10th game.

Fortune too seemed to have favoured Napolitano as his two shots hit the top of the nets before rolling into Nagal’s court, handing him a 15-40 lead.

Nagal slammed a backhand, what else it could have been on this day, into the net as Napolitano held his arms aloft heralding his victory.


Nagal Felicitated

Ahead of his semifinal match, Nagal was felicitated and awarded a cheque of INR 5 lakh by the KSLTA for breaking into the top 100 in ATP rankings.

M Priyank Kharge, senior vice-president of KSLTA, Maheshwar Rao, IAS, secretary of KSLTA and Sunil Yajaman, the KSLTA joint secretary, were present on the occasion.

Result (Singles, Semifinals): 9-Seongchan Hong beat 8-Oriol Batalla 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; 7- Stefano Napolitano beat 2-Sumit Nagal 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Doubles (Final): Ramkumar Ramanathan/Saketh Myneni beat Maxime Janvier/Constantine Kouzmine 6-3, 6-4.