Stan Wawrinka vs Sumit Nagal: Prague Challenger Preview and Prediction
Top seed, Stan Wawrinka locks horns against World number 127, Sumit Nagal in the quarterfinals of the Prague Challenger today.
Playing an ATP Challenger for the first time since 2010, Wawrinka had to go through two gruelling three-setters to reach the quarters. He began his campaign against Russian, Roman Safiullin. The Swiss took the first set 6-1 and suffered a minor blip in the second set as he lost it 6-4. He picked up the pieces winning the decider 6-1.
The three-time grand slam champion did not have it easy against Oscar Otte in the pre-quarterfinals. The World number 17 started slowly losing the first set 6-3 and bounced back to win the second and third sets 7-5 6-1 to clinch the match.
A majority of points came courtesy his 80% winning percentage on his first serve.
On the other hand, Sumit Nagal has also played two three-setters in this tournament. It was a tough battle against Britain's Jay Clarke as the first two sets were split apiece. Nagal was 4-1 ahead in the decider when Clarke retired hurt.
The Indian lost the first set against wildcard, Jiri Lehecka in the pre-quarterfinals. Despite committing around nine double faults, Nagal stood strong winning the next two sets 7-6 6-3 to book his spot in the quarters.
Strengths of Wawrinka
His devastating baseline game can destroy any opponent. Wawrinka's one-handed backhand is one of the best in the business. He has added more weapons to his game with a wicked slice and coming more frequently to the net. However, the Swiss must improve his first-serve as it has been off the mark in this tournament.
Strengths of Nagal
The Indian's primary weapon is his solid forehand. It fetches him most of the points. His attacking game mixed with topspin filled returns has fetched him rich dividends on clay. The youngster needs to spruce up his backhand as it lacks power.
Head to Head record
The two players have never met each other on the tour so far. While Wawrinka has nothing to lose with loads of tournaments lined up for the clay season. Having decided not to play the US Open, the Swiss would look to strengthen his campaign for the French Open. It is a great opportunity for Nagal and he must start strong if he wants to upset Wawrinka.
Prediction - Stan Wawrinka to win in three sets.
Featured image credits: tennisworldlive.com
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