Tennis

Tata Open Maharashtra | Viktor Troicki fights back to pack off Nagal

On the ball: Cedrik-Marcel Stebe surprised Ivo Karlovic in the first round on Monday.

On the ball: Cedrik-Marcel Stebe surprised Ivo Karlovic in the first round on Monday.  

Stebe shows the door to last year’s finalist Karlovic in straight-sets

Viktor Troicki staved off a stiff challenge from Sumit Nagal, winning 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-1 to enter the second round of the Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium here on Monday.

The Serbian’s current ranking of 191 is deceptive at best, for he was once ranked as high as 12 in the world.

Against Nagal, the 33-year-old drew upon his rich experience to turn a match that Nagal had seemingly taken charge of towards the end of the second set and the start of the third.

Troicki won the first set in quick time, breaking Nagal in the first and seventh games. But in the first half of the second set, Nagal finally found the game to match Troicki’s.

Big aces

Up 2-1, he had the 33-year-old by the throat at 0-40, but Troicki snuffed out three of four break opportunities with big aces and held to make it 2-2.

Troicki appeared to land the decisive match-turning break in the very next game, converting his fifth break-point opportunity to go up 3-2.

But Nagal struck back immediately, with his ploy of moving Troicki end-to-end and then opening up the court working well. Nagal’s next three service games were tidy before he made the play on the Troicki serve at 5-6.

Fluffs two set points

Nagal, with some deep, pin-point returns took time away from Troicki and hurried him into errors.

Two set points were his reward, but the home favourite fluffed both, first sending a backhand cross-court wide before dumping a pass into the net.

Nagal, however, composed himself to take the ensuing tie-break for the loss of four points, with two great inside-outs from 5-3-up sealing it.

Carrying the momentum

The 22-year-old carried the momentum into the third set and was presented two opportunities to break in the very first game.

But Troicki saved both, the second with a forehand that just about caught the tramline by a millimeter.

It was the oxygen that Troicki needed and he took five of the next six games to romp home.

Earlier, in the day’s opening match, last year’s finalist Ivo Karlovic was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Germany’s World No. 149 Cedrik-Marcel Stebe.

A break each in the sixth game of the first set and the fifth game of the second set was all that was required as the Croat struggled to combine his huge serve and fine volleying into a match-winning tactic.

The results (first round):

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (Ger) bt Ivo Karlovic (Cro) 6-3, 6-4; Yuichi Sugita (Jpn) bt Thomas Fabbiano (Ita) 6-3, 6-0; Viktor Troicki bt Sumit Nagal 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-1.

Doubles: Paolo Lorenzi & Stefano Travaglia (Ita) bt Ricardas Berankis (Ltu) & Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) 6-3, 6-4.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:15:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/tata-open-maharashtra-viktor-troicki-fights-back-to-pack-off-nagal/article30728992.ece

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