Prajnesh Gunneswaran loses in French Open qualifiers

Gunneswaran was India’s last hope to qualify for the men’s singles event at the Grand Slam in Roland Garros.

By Rahul Venkat

There will be no Indian representation in the men’s singles draw of the French Open as the country’s last hope Prajnesh Gunneswaran was knocked out of the qualifiers on Wednesday.

Gunneswaran fell 6-4, 7-6 to Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic in the second round of the French Open qualifiers.

This follows opening round losses in the qualifiers for Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan. Nagal had made the second round of the US Open and lost to eventual champion Dominic Thiem.

Gunneswaran began poorly as he was broken in the opening game of the match. Vukic was much stronger with his serves, with Gunneswaran’s only real chance of earning back the break coming in the fourth game.

However, the Indian was unable to convert either of his two break points and the opening game break proved to be the only one as the Australian took the opening set comfortably.

Gunneswaran fought back, winning his first break in the second game of the second set to take a two-game lead. However, he could not make it count, conceding his serve in the very next game.

Both players then held serve throughout the set, taking it to a tie-breaker.

Vukic and Gunneswaran frequently lost points on their serves there but the Australian managed to keep it together when leading 5-4 and quickly wrapped up the two points he required to win the set and the match.

Vukic will now play Jason Jung for a place in the main draw after the latter beat the experienced two-time Olympian Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3.

Indian hope rests on Raina

However, not all hope is lost for Indian tennis fans.

The country’s top-ranked female player Ankita Raina will be vying for a place in the women’s singles main draw when she faces Japan’s Kurumi Nara on Thursday. Raina had earlier beaten Jovana Jovic in the first round of qualifiers.