Second week in the Cologne LANXESSarena, second tournament: more or less in parallel to the first week tournament victory by German Alexander Zverev at the bett1HULKS Indoors (the first week tournament), Indian Sumit Nagal lost his deciding qualification match for the second week, the bett1HULKS Champships, against French Pierre-Hugues Herbert (who also took out another Indian, Divij Sharan, in the first week’s doubles competition). Nagal, however, profited of withdrawals and finally made it to main draw as a Lucky Looser, facing Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round. The match was scheduled as the opener of minor Court 1 on the first main draw tournament day, the 19th October 2020.
Representing the full two weeks in Cologne, this match has been selected to represent my Favorite Sports Event of the Year 2020:
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This posting comes with 351 major size pictures in the sports gallery.
Sumit Nagal vs. Miomir Kecmanovic – The Match
The match started strong for Sumit Nagal, who also had the moment of luck, especially in that period. Nagal struggled a bit to win the first game at own serve, but then broke the Serbian twice, the first break converted by a net chord shot. It felt like an easy set with Nagal 5-0 in the lead, but a short medical break gave back confidence to the favorite, while Nagal, who acted so powerful in the beginning more and more often felt to be a copy of local German hero Steffi Graf, doing great topspin shots on the forehand, but being more or less limited to slicing on the backhand. Kecmanovic managed to break Sumit twice, who now also did too many unforced errors and struggled in too frequent situations. The Serbian served in the tenth game to tie the score again, but after leading 30:0, four straight Nagal points in a row lead to the first set victory.
Nagal also served first in the second set, but Kecmanovic looked stronger after the three minute break. He broke the Indian right in the first game of the set. The Serbian felt to be superior in this period and especially in the fifth game, Kecmanovic again caused a lot of trouble. He tried to push Nagal more often to the backhand – but the Indian now managed more frequently to use his topspin on that side as well. It looked like an easy second set for Kecmanovic, but finally, the deciding phase felt to make both players nervous again: serving for the set at 5-4, the Belgrade player faced two break points. He came back to the deuce, but Nagal got another chance and took the break. The match went into the tie-breaker, where Kecmanovic started with a “mini-break” and was already 3:0 ahead. Nagal could tie with court change, but then struggled too much at own serve. Due to a 7:4 tie-break score, the match went into the third set.
The third set was a short one, unfortunately. Losing the second set just took too much confidence of the Indian, who just won one game at own serve. Nagal just was not focused any more, had a couple of hard-to-understand errors, so that Kecmanovic was finally the deserved winner of that tennis battle.
Sumit Nagal vs. Miomir Kecmanovic – My View
My thoughts about professional tennis have always been that – apart from super-talents like Federer, Djokovic or Nadal and maybe players with rare exceptional skills like always-hard-to-play-against-on-lawn Dustin Brown more or less all Top 150 are excellent tennis players who are competitive against each other. The key difference to me are very often mental factors. This match just illustrated that I can’t be that wrong with that. A too easy period for Nagal at the beginning of the first set, then struggle at both sides, the match around the second set tie-break and of course Nagal in the decider – both players had periods where they inexplicably gave their opponents a too easy time. Finally, Nagal did not make it to keep the momentum of the beginning of the first set and the re-break shocker at the end of the second set. Kecmanovic did not play a convincing match, but he played convincingly more often than his opponent.
Sharan / Withrow vs. Herbert / Mahut – Gallery
Here is the match gallery with 351 major pictures in the sports gallery section:
See the bett1HULK Tournaments Gallery group for more pictures.
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