It was a mixed day for the Indian challenge on the first day of the Australian Open qualifiers in Melbourne on Tuesday.
India’s ATP No 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran advanced to the next round with a good win against Australian wildcard Harry Bourchier. The 17th seed needed just 62 minutes to get past his opponent, beating him 6-2, 6-4. He converted five of six break chances and stayed on track despite losing his serve twice in the second set.
The world No 122 will play Yannick Hanfmann, the world No 167, next in a bid to qualify for his second straight Australian Open.
However, both Ankita Raina and Ramkumar Ramanathan went down in the first round of qualifiers. Neither have played in the main draw of a Grand Slam yet. 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. The slow start cost her the match even though she was more competitive in the second set with two breaks each.
Meanwhile, 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.
However, two quick breaks of serve in the second set saw the Argentine push for a decider. In the third set, the Indian’s serve faltered and was picked apart in quick time. India’s ATP No 2 Sumit Nagal will open his campaign on Wednesday.
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