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Australian Open: Nagal to face Berankis in 1st round

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Melbourne, Feb 5 (IANS) Ace India tennis player Sumit Nagal will face Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis in the men’s singles first round of the 2021 Australian Open which begins on February 8. The draw for the first Grand Slam of the season was held on Friday.

Nagal, ranked 139 in the world, faced 72nd ranked Berankis in his last match as well at the Murray River Open. Berankis had won the match 6-2, 6-2. He will face either Russia’s Karen Khachanov or Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic in the second round.

Nagal is the only Indian in the draw having received a wild card entry into the first round. The 23-year-old tennis player had previously won in the first round of the US Open in his last appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam. It was the first time an Indian had progressed beyond the first round of a Grand Slam in singles since Somdev Devvarman in 2013.

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Nagal went on to lose to eventual champion Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the second round. He had also faced Roger Federer, even winning a set against the Swiss great, in the first round of the 2019 US Open.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Raina, the highest ranked Indian men’s and women’s singles players respectively, were knocked out in the qualifiers.

–IANS

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