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India’s Sumit Nagal celebrates taking the gold medal in the men’s tennis singles.
Ruthless Nagal secures tennis golf

27 Sep 2017
Ashgabat, September 27 – Sumit Nagal was in ruthless form in the final of the men’s singles tennis at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games on Wednesday morning as he handed his Indian compatriot Vijay Natarajan a straight sets defeat to take the gold medal. Nagal prevailed 6-1, 6-1 in a match that lasted less than an hour as India completed their dominance of the men’s events in Turkmenistan having earlier won the gold medal in the doubles.

“This is my first international gold medal so I’m pretty happy about it,” said Nagal. “I hope this is going to help me in my tennis career. First and foremost, I’m happy about making my country proud and my family happy, because they’re the ones always behind me. “My goal is to go the whole way and become the highest-ranked player from India. I’m pursuing that and hope I can give something back to my country.”

The straight sets win meant Nagal completed the tournament without dropping a set across five matches on his way to the gold medal, but the nature of his win over Natarajan, who had defeated him in three of their previous four meetings, still came as a surprise.

“I wasn’t planning to save my best to last,” he said. “I hadn't played on hard court for a long time and I was rusty to start with in the tournament but the more matches I played, the better I got. “I was losing 3-1 to Vijay in career matches. We’d had some close matches and every time I’d lost to him, it had been in three sets. But conditions matter a lot and I was pretty confident going up against him on an indoor hard court, which I thought would suit me.”

Natarajan, who won the gold in the doubles alongside partner Jagadeeshan Vishnuvardan, was left disappointed with his showing in a one-sided final. "It was my worst performance of the competition,” said the silver medallist. “I couldn't find my way back into the match.

"I was very surprised when I saw I had 46 unforced errors during the final. You can't expect to win the match with that many unforced errors unless the opponent is making even more unforced errors. "The start of the final wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. I was a little irritated with the way I played. I never settled down after that. "I was focusing too much on why I was missing the ball. The match just slipped away from me."
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