India No 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran is all set to play his fifth straight Grand Slam as he reached the main draw of the Australian Open as a lucky loser on Saturday.
The left-hander, who had lost in the final round of qualifying to Ernests Gulbis, got another chance after a number of withdrawals in the men’s singles draw. He will be the only Indian in the singles draw.
Prajnesh will face Japan’s wildcard Tatsuma Ito in the first round, who at world No 145 is placed below the 122-ranked Indian. Ito had earned his entry at the Australian Open wildcard playoff in Asia during November last year.
If the Indian goes on to win his first-round match, a showcourt clash against world No 2 and defending champion Novak Djokovic awaits.
The 30-year-old had made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open last year as a qualifier, going down to Frances Tiafoe in the first round. He played the subsequent three Majors of 2019 by virtue of his top 100 ranking, which slipped due to injuries at the end of the season.
He has played Milos Raonic at Wimbledon and Daniil Medvedev at US Open and is yet to progress beyond the first round of a Grand Slam.
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