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Sumit Nagal had registered a fairy-tale victory in the last edition of the Bengaluru Open having felled three seeds enroute to the final before overcoming Jay Clarke of Britain to register his biggest victory of his career. As fate has it, the duo will be facing off in the first round of US $150,000 Bengaluru Open Challenger tomorrow.
While Sumit had met with fluctuating fortunes in the current season and was awarded a Wild Card, Clarke carries the tag of the seventh seed for the tournament. “Last year it was a great match and everybody enjoyed it. I am looking forward tomorrow’s match and so is he. Let’s see how it goes,” said Sumit who had to change his training team and get used to a new team. “I have been working with the new team since September and I feel confident about my game,” said the defending champion. “Right now I am not thinking of the title or points. I just want to take it match by match. I am not in any pressure, I just had a good Diwali,” added Sumit before rushing off for a practice session.
However, the two have to battle past many challengers in the form of Radu Albot who has been given the top billing and India’s very own Prajnesh Gunneswaran who is in superb form. Second seed Marco Trungelliti, third seed Elias Yemer, Marc Polmans (No.5), Quentin Halys (No.6), Filip Peliwo (No.8) will be the other guys to watch out for.
The other Indians in fray include Saketh Myneni, Suraj Prabodh and Adil Kalyanpur with a chance of two others joining the main draw.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr. G Parameshwara along with Karnataka’s sporting icon Rohan Bopanna will inaugurate the event.
Meanwhile, Wild Card entrant Siddharth Vishwakarma brought cheers to the Indian camp when he ousted fifth seed Antoine Escoffier of France 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 in a battle that lasted for nearly two hours to advance to the final round of qualifying.