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Sumit Nagal becomes first Indian to qualify for Australian Open 2024 main draw since 2021

India's top-ranked tennis ace beat Slovakian no.1 Alex Molcan in the third and final qualifying round by 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the direct qualification to the main draw of the Australian Open 2024 and will be facing the world no.31 Alexander Bublik in the first round on January 15.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Updated on: January 12, 2024 14:37 IST
Sumit Nagal
Image Source : PTI Sumit Nagal at Davis Cup 2023

India's top-ranked Sumit Nagal defeated Alex Molcan in the third and final qualifying round to qualify for the Australian Open 2024 main draw angles event on Friday, January 12. Nagal also became the first Indian player in the last three years to qualify for the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament in the singles category.

After impressive wins against Geoffrey Blancaneaux and Edward Winter, Nagal continues his run with an excellent performance against Slovakia's top-ranked Molcan. Nagal recorded a 6-4, 6-4 win with the help of five aces to end India's wait in the singles.

Now he will be facing the current Kazakhstani no.1 player Alexander Bublik in the first round on opening day. Bublik is seeded 31 and is currently participating Adelaide Open where he beat star Italian Lorenzo Musseti in the quarter-final.

Notably, Nagal was the last Indian to play in men's singles in the Grand Slam when he qualified for the first round at the Australian Open 2021. Nagal's best outing in Grand Slam history came in 2020 when he reached the second round in men's singles at the US Open. He was defeated by Austrian Dominic Thiem in the second round after a stunning win against  Bradley Klahn in the first game. Nagal remains the last Indian player to win a singles game in the Grand Slam and will be looking for a positive result to create history on Sunday evening. 

Meanwhile, the Australian Open 2024 main draw was announced yesterday. The current world no.1 Novak Djokovic will kick off his bid for the record 25th Grand Slam title in the opening game against Croatia's Dino Prizmic in the men's singles and can potentially face former no.1 Andy Murray in the third round.

In the women's singles, India's Ankita Raina failed to reach the third qualifier round as her wait for her maiden Grand Slam appearance continues. Iga Swiatek, seeded first, will clash against Sofia Kenin in the first round while defending champions Arnya Sabalenka is facing Germany's Ella Seidel in the opening game.

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