Indian tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran overcame a sluggish start to advance to the second round of the French Open men’s singles qualifying event but country’s top player Sumit Nagal bowed out after a close defeat in Paris on Monday.
Seeded 16th in the qualifying draw Nagal — who became the first Indian in seven years to win a singles match at a Grand Slam with his opening round victory at the US Open this year — lost 6-7 (4) 5-7 to Germany’’s seasoned player Dustin Brown in one hour and 47 minutes.
Nagal had his chances in the second set as he was leading 3-0 but Brown did not let him continue with the momentum.
Prajnesh, India’s second-highest ranked singles player, got the better of Turkey’s Cem Ilkel 6-3 6-1 after losing his service early in his opening qualifier.
Prajnesh, who had got a direct entry into Roland Garros last year but lost in the first round, will now take on Aleksandar Vukic from Australia next up.
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.
Another Indian to feature in the qualifying draw was Ramkumar who lost against local wildcard Tristan Lamasine in straight sets. Ramkumar lost 5-7, 2-6 and paid the prices for converting just one of the eight break point opportunities he had while his opponent converted four out of six.
The clay-court Grand Slam, usually the second Major of the year, 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.
In the women’s doubles qualifying draw, Ankita Raina (world No 128) will take on Jovana Jovic from Serbia (ranked 232) in her first round match. Raina has played a couple of tournaments in Europe since the restart and will be hoping to go deep into the qualifiers.
With PTI inputs