Olympics - Sumit Nagal
India's Sumit Nagal, who made the cut at the last minute, won the first singles match for his country since 1996. Image Credit: Twitter

Tokyo: India’s lone hope in men’s tennis singles, Sumit Nagal, powered to a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 win over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the first round here at the Ariake Tennis Court on Saturday.

Nagal’s win was the first for an Indian men’s singles tennis player at the Olympics since Leander Paes’ bronze medal-winning run at Atlanta 1996.

Nagal won the first set 6-4 in 42 minutes but lost the second set in tie-breaker in 71 minutes. He, however, came back to win the final set in 41 minutes with a 6-4 margin.

The 34-year-old Istomin, ranked 197th in the world was no match to his 23-year-old Indian opponent who is ranked 37 places above him.

Nagal was more agile and covered the court better. Istomin fired 17 aces against eight by Nagal. The Indian also committed more double faults with nine against three.

Vikas Krishan stunned

India’s campaign in the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition started on a dismal note as Vikas Krishan was stunned by local hopeful Sewonrets Quincy Mensah Okazawa in the opening round of the men’s 69kg on Saturday.

Krishan, the Asian Games gold medallist in 2010 and a bronze medallist in 2018, never got going as his Japanese rival maintained a steady score, getting all 10s from the five judges in the opening round. Krishan got all 9s.

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Okazawa, a southpaw, maintained his dominance as he emerged winner 5-0 on points after winning the bout on all judges’ cards. The bout was judged 30-26, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, and 20-27 by the five judges.

Krishan, who suffered a cut below his eye in the second round, tried his best to recover lost ground in the final round but Okazawa did not give him many chances.

The 29-year-old is India’s most experienced male boxer in Tokyo as he was participating in his third Olympics. In 2018, Krishan had turned professional and moved to the United States, and won his first two pro bouts. However, he returned to India in July 2019 and started training at NIS Patiala as he wanted to participate in another Olympics and win a medal.

Deepika, Pravin crash out

The Indian mixed team in archery, comprising Deepika Kumari and Pravin Jadhav, crashed out in the quarterfinals, losing to South Korea 2-6.

Although the Koreans won three sets to India’s one, all of them were closely contested.

South Korea, comprising An San and Kim Je Deok, won the first two sets - 35-32, 38-37 - before the Indian pair bounced back winning the third 37-35.

The Koreans then sealed the final set 36-33 with the Indians struggling to get a decent score in their four shots.

Earlier, India’s world No.1 woman archer Deepika and Jadhav had secured a place in the quarterfinals by overcoming the Chinese Taipei pair of Lin Chia-En and Tang Chin-Chun 5-3 in the opening elimination round.