It was Federer vs. Nagal in the first round of the US Open 2019. No, you read it correctly, Roger Federer did not play against Rafael Nadal. His first round opponent was 22-year-old Sumit Nagal from India. You may have never heard of him before, but he really made a mark in Flushing Meadows after taking a set off the Swiss master.
The opening day of the US Open 2019 featured the blockbuster match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Straight after that, Roger Federer faced the qualifier, Nagal. Everyone expected it to be a walk in the park, but Nagal gave Federer fans quite a fright.
In the opening set, Nagal had impressive first serve accuracy. He was serving with a 64% accuracy rate against Federer's 48%. Federer didn't help himself by having three double faults and 15 unforced errors during the set. The first set ended 6-4 in favour of Nagal.
The dream was short lived for the Indian qualifier after Federer found his groove in the second set. The match suddenly looked exactly how everyone had expected. Federer quickly packed up the second and third sets, 6-1, 6-2.
On the fourth set, Nagal fought back. while he still struggled, he was able to challenge Federer a bit more. Nagal showed some signs of frustration, but considering the situation, he looked fairly composed. However, by this time, Federer had all his confidence back. He eventually closed out the match after four sets. 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Despite losing valiantly against Federer, Nagal has a lot to be proud of in his Grand Slam debut. After several attempts at qualifying tournaments, his first crack on the main stage was against a man who is arguably the GOAT. Not many players can claim a set against Federer, no matter how many years they have been on tour. Nagal has a bright future ahead of him.
The US Open 2019 will be played from August 26 until September 8, 2019.