Top-ranked Indian men’s singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s quest for a fifth straight Grand Slam appearance got off to a bright start on Tuesday. The 30-year-old tennis ace got past wildcard Harry Bourchier with a 6-2, 6-4 straight set victory in the first round of the 2020 Australian Open qualifiers.
The 17th seeded Indian will play Yannick Hanfmann of Germany, who is ranked 167th in the world, next. If he manages to beat the German, Prajnesh will need to win just one more match to make it to the main draw. However, it might be easier said than done — for, waiting for him in the final round will be the winner between 15th seed Federico Coria, who beat Ramkumar Ramanathan, and Ernests Gulbis.
Earlier, Prajnesh had enjoyed a winning start to the 2020 season in Apis Canberra International. He had beaten Jason Kubler 7-5 6-3 with ease in the first round of the USD $1,62,480 ATP Challenger event. But in the second round, he suffered a straight set loss to Taro Daniel and crashed out.
Ramkumar, Ankita Raina make early exits
India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan endured yet another tough loss as his wait for a Grand Slam main draw debut continued. Leading by a set & a break at one point, the 25-year-old eventually lost to Coria 6-4, 4-6, 1-6.
Earlier in the day, India’s WTA No 1 Ankita Raina lost her opener as well, to Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova 2-6, 6-7(2) in the first round in a match that lasted an hour and 47 minutes. She started off poorly, failing to create a single break opportunity in the first set and that cost her the match.
Meanwhile, Sumit Nagal will face Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat in the first round of qualifiers on Wednesday.