File photo of Sumit Nagal© Twitter

Ace Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal was off to a winning start in Monte Carlo Masters as he defeated world number 63 Flavio Cobolli of Italy in straight sets in the qualifiers in Monte Carlo on Saturday. The unseeded 95th-ranked Indian registered a 6-2 6-3 win over eighth-seeded Cobolli. Nagal will now be up against the winner of the two Argentinians — Facundo Díaz Acosta and Diego Schwartzman — in his final qualifier fixture.

While Acosta is ranked 55th and seeded third, Schwartzman is ranked 124th and is a wild card entrant in the tournament.

Seven qualifiers will be granted entry into the main round.

Nagal has been in the headlines since making it to the main draw of the Australian Open in January, where he had beaten Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan before bowing out in the second round.

He then emerged triumphant in the Chennai Open before playing two more Challenger competitions, along with an ATP 500 competition (Dubai Championship) and two ATP 1000 Masters (Indian Wells and Miami).

Since his Chennai victory, Nagal has reached the semi-final only on one occasion, during the Bengaluru Challenger.

Meanwhile, world number one pair of Rohan Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden (top seed) will also be competing in the tournament. PTI AYG ATK

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