Second seed and three-time Grand Slam finalist, Dominic Thiem will encounter Sumit Nagal in the second round of the US Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Day 4. The Australian Open finalist, who will be celebrating his 27th birthday, enjoyed a comfortable win against Jaume Munar in the first round.
The Austrian displayed his full array of shot-making and movement which has seen him being a constant threat to the biggest prizes. The Austrian was leading 7-6, 6-3 before the Spaniard threw in the towel.
Nagal, on the other hand, was very impressive in his first-round win over Bradley Klahn. Nagal brushed aside the American with a scoreline of 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 as he became the first Indian to register a Grand Slam singles win in 7 years.
The last time an Indian registered a Grand Slam singles win also came at Flushing Meadows when Somdev Devvarman beat Lukas Lacko of the Czech Republic in the 2013 edition.
This will be their first meeting. However, based on experience, Nagal will have a mountain to climb against the Austrian who is enjoying a career-high ranking and enjoying great results in his recent Grand Slam tournaments.
The 23-year old may take last year's match against Roger Federer as an inspiration where he gave the Swiss a hefty scare before ultimately losing in four sets. As Thiem is one of the best returning players in the game today, Nagal must know that he has to have a great serving day to have a chance of causing the upset of the tournament. It is a great opportunity for the youngster to showcase his potential to the world against one of the best players in the world.
Thiem, despite having a flawed campaign in Cincinnati, is playing scintillating tennis. The Austrian was unable to make it past the first hurdle last year where he lost to Thomas Fabbianno in four sets. However, with a runner-up result under his belt at a major on a hard court, and with Federer and Nadal not participating, he will like his chances to go all the way.
Thiem is looking to become the first Austrian since Thomas Muster in 1995 to win a Grand Slam singles title. Furthermore, he is also looking to strengthen his grip on the No.3 ranking as he only has 10 points to defend for the rest of the year.
The Austrian will be looking to improve on his win-loss record of 10-5 this year and we expect him to make it 11 wins after beating Nagal in straight sets. However, the match won't be as comfortable. We may see flashes of the talent that saw Nagal win his first-round match.
Prediction: Dominic Thiem in three sets.