Olympics-bound Nagal moves to pre-quarterfinals of ATP Challenger in Italy

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Perugia (Italy), Jun 11 (PTI) India's top-ranked tennis player Sumit Nagal officially qualified for the Paris Olympics and advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the ATP 125 Perugia Challenger with straight sets win over Bosnian Nerman Fatic here on Tuesday.

The sixth seed Indian, who won the men's singles crown at the Heilbronn Neckarcup 2024 Challenger event in Germany last week, registered a 7-6(1) 6-2 win in the first round that lasted one hour 52 minutes.

On Tuesday, the first set was fought on even keel with little separating the two players but Nagal managed to edge out Fatic in the tiebreak.

He then continued his fantastic first serve performance, dominating his Bosnian rival in the second set.

Nagal will take on local player Alessandro Giannessi in the second round.

The win has elevated Nagal four spots to a new career-high of 73 in the ATP live rankings.

The 26-year-old Indian had sealed a spot in the Paris Olympics men's singles draw through his ATP Rankings.

Nagal would be the only Indian in the men's singles event in Paris. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will notify national federations about qualified athletes by June 12, following which National Olympic Committees will confirm their entries by June 19.

Nagal made the cut-off after climbing 18 places in the singles rankings last week, occupying the last spot among the eligible players who secured quotas via world rankings.

He was 95th in rankings last week but reached a career-high of 77th following his ATP Challenger title win at the Heilbronn Neckarcup in Germany on Sunday.

France had one quota spot reserved as the host country in the event that none of the French singles players managed to secure a direct berth through rankings.

However, with the hosts managing their full allotment of four quotas in men's singles through the ATP Rankings, the host country quota was added back to the pool, which brought the cut-off up to 57 from 56.

Though Nagal is 77th in the rankings, he occupies the last spot among the eligible players who obtained quotas through world rankings. PTI APA AH SSC SSC