India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran defeated Yosuke Watanuki 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4 in the third round of the Australia Open qualifiers to proceed to a Grand Slam men’s singles main draw for the first time in his career.

Seeded sixth in the qualifiers, Prajnesh defeated Watanuki in a match that lasted two hours and 10 minutes for a chance to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time. After losing the first set in a tie-breaker, Prajnesh bounced back in style and capitalised on the errors of Watanuki.

The left-hander from Chennai, ranked 112 in the world currently, had qualified for the main draw of French Open in 2018 as lucky loser, but could not make it after leaving Paris to play a Challenger.

The India men’s No 1, seeded sixth, beat Enrique López Pérez 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the third and final round of qualifying at the first Grand Slam of the year. Prajnesh was quick off the blocks and won the match in just 74 minutes. He had claimed an equally easy win over Croatia’s Victor Galovic in the first round and looks to be in good form.

Earlier, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina had gone down in tough three-setters in the second round of qualifying on Thursday.

(More to follow)