Showing grit and determination, India’s top-ranked men’s singles tennis ace Prajnesh Gunneswaran fought back from a set down to beat Yannick Hanfmann of Germany 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the second round of qualifiers at the Australian Open.
The World No. 122 had fallen behind initially, failing to get into his groove in the first set. However, he adjusted his game in the second set and was able to break Hanfmann twice. As the match went into the decider, both players took a cautious approach. But Prajnesh was able to break Hanfmann’s second service game and take a lead before winning it in style.
The 30-year-old had advanced to the second round after defeating local wild card Harry Bourchier 6-2 6-4 in the first on Tuesday. Now, Prajnesh is just one win away from a 5th straight Grand Slam appearance. But the task gets tougher as, in all likelihood, he will face 15th seed Federico Coria, who beat Ramkumar Ramanathan in the first round of qualifiers.
While Prajnesh has made it to the final round of qualifying, compatriot Sumit Nagal was not so fortunate. The Indian youngster suffered a straight set loss in the first round of the men’s singles qualifiers on Thursday. The 21st-seeded Nagal lost 6-7(2), 2-6 to Egyptian Mohamed Safwat in a contest that lasted one hour and 28 minutes.
Earlier, Ramkumar Ramanathan and lone Indian contender in women’s singles qualifier, Anikta Raina, had made early exits on Tuesday losing their respective first round qualifying matches.
Bopanna, Divij Sharan crash out in quarters in Auckland
Both Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan crashed out of Auckland ATP 250 Open doubles quarter-finals after losing the quarterfinal matches with their respective partners on Thursday.
Third seeds Bopanna and Henri Kontinen lost in straight games, 3-6, 4-6, to Luke Bambridge and Ben McLachlan. Sharan and his partner Artem Sitak, on the other hand, won the first set but Gille-Vliegen made a comeback to win 5-7, 7-6, 11-9.