India’s top-ranked tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s Australian Open first-round match did not go in his favour as he went down 4-6 2-6 5-7 to Japanese Tatsuma Ito.
Ranked World No.122, Prajnesh fought for 2 hours and 1 minute as rain also played spoilsport after his match was postponed from Monday for the same reason. Ito will now take on World no. 2 Novak Djokovic in the second round.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who sneaked into main draw as Lucky Loser, goes down to WR 145 Tatsuma Ito 4-6, 2-6, 5-7 in 1st round.
He pocketed 1,22, 500 Australian dollars (around 60 lacs INR) overall for the effort.
END of Indian challenge in Singles. #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/eIRrD5v2mK
— India_AllSports (@India_AllSports) January 21, 2020
The 30-year-old gave a tough fight and even showed resilience in the third set when he broke Ito, ranked 22 places below the Indian, to take a 2-1 lead. The Japanese opponent, however, broke back immediately before Prajnesh erred when the set was level at 5-5.
Prajnesh, who entered the main draw of the men’s singles event as a lucky loser in the qualifiers, made his fifth straight appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam event having earlier played in the Wimbledon, French Open and the US Open due to his better rankings.
With Prajnesh’s ouster, India’s campaign ended in the singles event of the Australian Open. In men’s doubles, India’s Divij Sharan and his Kiwi partner Artem Sitak will face Spanish-Portuguese pair of Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa in the opening round, while Rohan Bopanna and Japanese Yasutaka Uchiyama will play 13th seeded American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan.
In the women’s doubles, Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine will take on Chinese combination of Xinyun Han and Lin Zhu in the opening round. Returning to the court after a two-year maternity break, Sania had won the Hobart International title recently partnering Kichenok.
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