Tokyo: Sumit Nagal on Saturday became only the third Indian to win a men’s singles match at an Olympics edition and the first in 25 years, when he edged past Denis Istomin in a three-setter at the Tokyo Games, here.
Nagal got the better of Istomin 6-4 6-7(6) 6-4 in two hours and 34 minutes on court 10 at the Ariake Tennis Centre to set up a second round with world number two Daniil Medvedev.
Zeeshan Ali was the first Indian to win a singles match at the 1988 Seoul Games when he beat Victo Caballero from Paraguay.
After that, the legendary Leander Paes won the historic men’s singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games, beating Brazil’s Fernando Meligeni.
No Indian could win a singles match after Paes’ heroic feat even as Somdev Devvarman and Vishnu Vardhan competed at the 2012 Games in London but did not manage to cross the first round hurdle.
Nagal now faces a herculean task as he faces Australian Open runner-up Medvedev, who beat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bubilk 6-4 7-6(8).
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