India’s top-ranked tennis seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran is just one win away from the main draw of the Australian Open 2020 after the 30-year-old advanced to the final round of the qualifiers but it was curtains for compatriot Sumit Nagal in Melbourne on Thursday.
Prajnesh, ranked 122 in the world, was made to put in the hard yards to go past Yannick Hanfmann of Germany 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 – the match lasting one hour and 22 minutes. Prajnesh, seeded 17th in the qualifiers, will take on either Federico Coria of Argentina or Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the final round. The Indian defeated local wild card Harry Bourchier 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round.
Earlier in the day, Nagal suffered a straight-set loss in the first round to crash out of the men’s singles qualifiers. Nagal, seeded 21st in the qualifiers, was shown the door by Mohamed Safwat of Egypt 7-6 (2), 6-2 after a one hour and 28-minute contest.
Ramkumar Ramanathan on Tuesday made an early exit along with lone Indian contender in women’s singles qualifier, Anikta Raina.
India’s WTA No. 1 Raina lost to Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova 2-6, 6-7(2) in the first round in a match that last an hour and 47 minutes. She didn’t create a single break chance in the first set and could only save three of the five she faced.
Ramkumar’s wait for a Grand Slam main draw debut continued into another year as he bowed out in the first round to 15th seed Federico Coria 6-4, 4-6, 1-6. The world No 185 was leading by a set a a break and looked set for a win.