Resolute Prajnesh Gunneswaran through to Australian Open qualifiers second round

Indian tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat Canadian opponent Brayden Schnur after three sets in the first round of the Australian Open 2021 qualifiers.

By Utathya Nag ·

Prajnesh Gunneswaran joined fellow Indian tennis players Ankita Raina and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the Australian Open 2021 qualifiers second round. Karman Kaur Thandi, though, crashed out after losing her first round match on Monday.

Gunneswaran, currently the top-ranked Indian men’s singles tennis player, beat Canada’s Brayden Schnur 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in his men’s Australian Open qualifiers first round match in Doha. Raina and Ramanathan had secured their places on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Prajnesh Gunneswaran, aiming to qualify for his third straight Australian Open main draw, was dealt an early blow after he was broken in the second game of the first set.

Down 3-0, the world No. 128 bounced back and broke Schnur’s service thrice to win the first set 6-4.

In the second set, there was little to choose between the two in the early goings. But Schunur seized the initiative after breaking Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the all-important tenth game to take the second set 6-4.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran then took control in the deciding third set after breaking his opponent in the fifth game and clinched it 6-2.

This was only the second time Gunneswaran and Schnur faced off in the senior circuit. The Indian came out on top at the 2018 Bengaluru Open semi-finals, en route to winning the ATP Challenger event.

Karman Kaur Thandi goes down fighting

Earlier in the day, at the women’s Australian Open 2021 qualifiers being played in Dubai, Indian youngster Karman Kaur Thandi lost her first round match to Georgia’s Mariam Bolkvadze.

The 22-year-old Indian pushed her higher-ranked opponent to the distance in both sets but lost the two tiebreakers to crash out. Bolkvadze won the match 7(7) – 6(4), 7(7)-6(4).

Karman Kaur Thandi’s exit leaves Ankita Raina, who won her first round match against Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani on Sunday, as the only Indian woman still vying to make it into the singles main draw of the first Grand Slam of the year.