Indian tennis will have a strong representation in the qualifiers of the French Open beginning Monday in Paris. Sumit Nagal, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will be part of the men’s singles qualifying while Ankita Raina will be the sole female participating.
The clay-court Grand Slam was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the main draw will begin next week. Unlike the US Open earlier this month, Roland Garros has included the qualifying draw.
India No 1 Nagal, who became the first Indian in seven years, to win a singles match at a Grand Slam at the US Open, is seeded 16th and will start his campaign against Dustin Brown. The world No 127 Indian will be high on confidence coming from a strong performance in New York and playing on a surface his game flourishes on.
At the US Open, he beat American Bradley Klahn in the first round before losing in the second round to eventual champion Dominic Thiem. The 23-year-old played on European clay at the Prague Challenger before heading to the US Open.
If he wins his first-round match, he could be up against Marco Trungelliti of Argentina.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India’s second-highest ranked men’s singles player, is seeded 29th and will take on Turkey’s world No 206 Cem Ilkel in the first round. Prajnesh had got a direct entry into Roland Garros last year but lost in the first round.
The world No 141 faced heartbreak last month after narrowly missing out on the main draw of the US Open due to the bio-bubble rules.
The 30-year-old, who was among the alternates and flew to New York, missed out by one spot as the new rules stated that a doubles player would get into the draw even if a singles spot opened up.
Earlier this month, he played his first tournament since tennis restart, starting with a win. However, he lost his final match of the ATP 250 Austrian Open qualifiers in Kitzbuhel. Seeded 12th, he went down 3-6, 3-6 to Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland.
Ramkumar, who will be playing his first match since the restart, takes on French wildcard Tristan Lamasine in the first round. If he wins, he could be up against 10th seed JJ Wolf, who reached the third round at US Open.
The women’s qualifying draw is expected to be released on Monday. Raina has played a couple of tournaments in Europe since the restart.
In the doubles draw, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be part of the main draw, playing with Denis Shapovalov and Soonwoo Kwon, respectively.