It pays to hang on. Sumit Nagal exemplified the maxim as he bounced back from a shaky start to knock out the second-seeded Kim Young Seok of Korea 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Asian junior tennis championship at the DLTA Complex here on Thursday.
The 17-year-old Kim Young Seok, the finalist of the Asia-Oceania junior championship in Seogwipo City last November, was easily the better of the two players. The 15-year-old Nagal, himself a no mean talent, struggled to keep pace with the Korean despite breaking his serve in the first game of the match.
Nagal, in fact, was quite fortuitous to win those three games in the first set, as the Korean had three game points on his serve in the first game, and had three break points in all on Nagal’s serve in the other two games.
The fortunes swung around dramatically, thanks to Nagal’s gutsy approach. The Korean, meanwhile, found it difficult to stay motivated and play his top game, and failed to hold serve in the next two sets after holding for 1-1 in the second set.
Nagal played an intelligent game and went for broke only when required as the Korean had become erratic. After reeling off eight games in a row to turn the tide decisively in his favour, Nagal dropped serve in the fourth game of the decider, but ran away with the match conceding only four points in all in the next three.
Matching his performance of making the semifinals in the last edition, Nagal will now play the eighth-seeded Korean Lee Duck Hee whom he had beaten recently in an ITF grade ‘I’ tournament in Thailand for the loss of four games.
Coached by Bobby Mahal in Canada, perceptions may vary about the strength of Nagal’s serve or the sting of his forehand, but there can be no doubt about his willingness to fight it out.
In the girls’ section, Snehadevi Reddy continued with her dream run, outplaying qualifier Plobrung Plipuech of Thailand for the loss of four games.
In fact the diminutive Snehadevi, coached by Neelakanta Rao in Hyderabad, had dropped only one of the first 10 games, but a shoulder strain saw her relax an otherwise menacing grip over the Thai.
In the semifinals, Snehadevi will face the second-seeded Katherine Ip of Hong Kong.
The results: Boys: Singles (quarterfinals): Kim Dukyoung (Kor) bt Hong Seong Chan (Kor) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1; Ken Onishi (Jpn) bt Kang Ku Keon (Kor) 6-3, 6-4; Lee Duck Hee (Kor) bt Takashi Saito (Jpn) 6-4, 6-4; Sumit Nagal bt Kim Young Seok (Kor) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles (semifinals): Ken Onishi and Takashi Saito bt Hong Seong Chan and Kang Ku Keon 6-2, 6-3; Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (Tha) and Sumit Nagal bt Congsup Congcar (Tha) and Lee Duck Hee 6-4, 6-4.
Girls: Singles (quarterfinals): Asiya Dair (Kaz) bt Hikari Yamamoto (Jpn) 5-7, 7-5, 6-0; Kamonwan Buayam (Tha) bt Kyoka Okamura (Jpn) 6-2, 1-6, 6-4; Snehadevi Reddy bt Plobrung Plipuech (Tha) 6-0, 6-4; Katherine Ip (Hkg) bt Tamachan Momkoonthod (Tha) 7-6(7), 6-3.
Doubles (semifinals): Mami Adachi (Jpn) and Hikari Yamamoto bt Eudice Chong and Katherine Ip (Hkg) 6-2, 6-2; Kamonwan Buayam and Kim Dabin (Kor) bt Asiya Dair and Miki Kobayashi (Jpn) 6-4, 0-6, 11-9.
Nagal will now play eighth seed Hee Snehadevi powers past Plipuech
Nagal will now play eighth seed Hee
Snehadevi powers past Plipuech