By Frank Pingue
NEWYORK (Reuters) – Roger Federer gave India’s Sumit Nagal a harsh introduction to Grand Slam tennis as the five-time champion weathered an early storm for a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-4 win on Monday to reach the second round of the U.S. Open.
When the match began it was Federer who surprisingly looked intimidated under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights as he sprayed errors all around the court but the Swiss great woke from his slumber in time to turn the match resoundingly in his favour.
World number 190 Nagal, who has never earned a tour-level victory and only qualified for the year’s final Grand Slam last week, came out swinging and even put a rare look of incredulity on the faces of those inside third seed Federer’s box.
The 22-year-old Indian used impressive court coverage and sent heavily-spinning shots over the net during his dream start but his legs started to look more wobbly as the match wore and Federer righted the ship.
Federer, playing in his first Grand Slam since he failed to convert two championship points on his own serve against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, was down 0-40 while serving for the match but stepped up to win six of the next seven points to hold for the win.
Up next for Federer, who is seeking a record-extending 21st career Grand Slam title, will be Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, who beat Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit earlier on Monday.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)