Indian tennis players Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina advanced to the second round of the Australian Open qualifiers while Karman Kaur Thandi bowed out in the first round.
India No 1 Ankita Raina, ranked 180 in the world, outplayed Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes in the women’s singles. She will be up against Katarina Zavatska in the second round in a bid to qualify for her first Grand Slam main draw.
Ramkumar knocked out 10th seed Argentine Facundo Bagnis with a hard-fought 7-6(6), 7-5 victory in one hour and 53 minutes. The world No 188, who is yet to make a Grand Slam main draw appearance, 247th ranked Tung Lin Wu from Chinese Taipei next,
Prajnesh, the world No 128 and India’s top-ranked male player, overcame Canada’s Brayden Schnur in a tough three-set battle. He won 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in a match that lasted two hours and 30 minutes.
However, Karman Kaur Thandi went down to the higher-ranked Mariam Bolkvadze 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in a tight contest. She was playing after more than a year after injury and the pandemic kept her away from the court.
Sumit Nagal has already been awarded a wild card entry into the men’s singles main draw, assuring India of representation in singles at the year’s first Grand Slam.
The delayed Australian Open will start from February 8 in Melbourne while the qualifiers are being held in Doha and Dubai due to travel restrictions.