India’s highest world-ranked player Prajnesh Gunneswaran advanced through to the second round of the 2021 Australian Open Qualifiers after battling past Canada’s Brayden Schnur on Monday.
Prajnesh and Schnur fought for two and a half hours before clinching the match 6-4 4-6 6-2. Ranked 128th in world, Prajnesh is still a fair distance away from reaching the main draw. In the previous edition, the 31-year-old entered the main draw as lucky loser in the Qualifiers but he crashed out to Japanese wild card Tatsuma Ito in the first round.
On Sunday, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankit Raina progressed to the 2nd round with convincing victories in Dubai.
Ramkumar is yet to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam. The World No. 188 was made to work hard by 10th seed Argentine Facundo Bagnis but the Indian player prevailed in straight sets: 7-6(6), 7-5 in an hour and 53 minutes in the men’s singles tie.
Ramkumar will next face lower-ranked Tung-Lin Wu from Chinese Taipei in the 2nd round of the qualifiers.
Meanwhile, Ankita Raina defeated Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani 6-2, 6-2 in the women’s singles first-round qualification match on Sunday. The World No. 180 had failed to get past the opening round of the qualifiers last year but she produced a clinical show against her lower-ranked opponent.
The top-ranked Indian women’s singles player will face 9th seed Katarina Zavatska in the 2nd round of the qualifying.
India’s Kamran Kaur Thandi bowed out in the first round of qualification. Playing her first match after almost a year, Kamran lost to Gerogia’s Mariam Bolkvadze 6-7 (4), 6-7(4).
Top-ranked Indian men’s singles player Sumit Nagal received a wildcard for the main draw.
Notably, the Australian Open qualifiers are being held in the UAE from January 10 to 14 after which the players who make it to the main draw will head to Melbourne where they will undergo quarantine. The Australian Open main draw kick starts on February 8.