Indian Wells: Prajnesh beats Benoit Paire, advances to second round

The 29-year-old qualifier will next face World No. 18 Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The Indian qualified for his first ever ATP Masters 1000 main draw with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Salvatore Caruso of Italy.   -  M. Vedhan

India’s top-ranked singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran on Friday beat World No. 69 Benoit Paire in straight sets to reach the second round of Indian Wells.


The 29-year-old qualifier, playing in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 event, beat the former world No. 13 7-6 (5), 6-4 in an hour and 30 minutes for only his second main draw win on the ATP Tour. He will next face World No. 18 Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Related: Prajnesh breaks into top-100 of men's singles rankings

Earlier, the Indian qualified for the main draw with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Salvatore Caruso of Italy.

Prajnesh had a remarkable 2018, during which he clinched two Challenger titles, bagged a bronze medal in the Asian Games, made his first appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam which helped him break into the top 100 recently.

“It’s definitely one of the biggest wins of my career. It has come at a good time, I am close to making the cut for the Wimbledon (main draw) and I am going to go up in the rankings,” Prajnesh told PTI.

“These kind of results, winning matches against quality opponents definitely add to my self-belief.”

“It was more about who is able to deal with the conditions than playing the perfect tennis. I am glad I got through, I did what was necessary to win but definitely did not play my best. I look forward to my next match on Saturday,” he added.

- Other Indians in action -

In the ITF men’s Futures in Australia, Arjun Kadhe beat Harry Bourchier of Australia 7-6(3), 2-6, 7-6(5) to set up a semifinal against the top seed Dayne Kelly.

Rutuja Bhosale made the doubles final in partnership with Akiko Omae of Japan in the $25,000 ITF women’s event in Yokohama. Karman Kaur Thandi beat fourth seed Martina Trevisan of Italy to make the quarterfinals of an ITF tournament in Mexico.

(With inputs from PTI)