The qualifying for French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year, gets underway at Roland Garros on Monday. While India’s top player Yuki Bhambri, who is ranked 94th this week, will have a direct entry, three other Indians are in contention for a spot in the main draw of the men’s singles in Paris. Here’s who Ramkumar Ramnathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Sumit Nagal will be playing:
Ramnathan Ramkumar, who is ranked 121 in the world, will be the only seeded Indian in the qualifying. The 23-year-old 12th seed will open his campaign against Great Britain’s Jay Clarke who is currently ranked 225 in the world. The 19-year-old played against the Indian at the Bengaluru Challenger in November last year, beating him 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4 in a tough three-setter. Ramkumar last played in the qualifying at the Madrid Masters, losing to Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round.
The other top-200 Indian in fray is Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who is ranked 183 in the world. Prajnesh, 28, will play Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in the first round. The Indian has not played the 25-year-old on the ATP tour so far. However, he is on a good run of form having broken into the top 200 after his first title on the ATP Challenger circuit lifting the clay-court Kunming Open title in Anning, China.
India’s Sumit Nagal, on the other hand, will have a tough start to his qualifying campaign after being drawn to meet 10 seed Martin Klizan in the first round. The Slovakian is ranked 117 in the world and is coming off a good run on clay having reached the quarter-finals at Munich and Barcelona. He defeated Novak Djokovic and Feliciano Lopez before going down to eventual winner Rafael Nadal in Spain. The world No 223 Indian, on the other hand, has had a rough ride on clay, losing in the first round at the ATP Challenger in Braga, Portugal two weeks back. He hasn’t played since.
The women’s singles qualifying begins on Tuesday with only Ankita Raina in the fray.
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