Prajnesh knocked out of Australian Open qualifiers

India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who made the main draw of all four Grand Slams last year, was eliminated at the final hurdle in the 2020 Australian Open qualifiers.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran lost 6-7 (2) 2-6 to Ernests Gulbis in his final round qualifying match at the Australian Open (File Photo).   -  Getty Images

India’s top-ranked player Prajnesh Gunneswaran failed to make the main draw of the Australian Open men’s singles event after going down in straight sets to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the final round of the qualifiers in Melbourne on Friday.

However, the 30-year-old Indian can still make it to the main draw as a lucky loser (LL) in place on an injured player, depending on his ranking among players eliminated in the final round of qualifying.

Prajnesh, ranked 122nd in the world and seeded 17th in the qualifiers, lost 6-7 (2) 2-6 to Gulbis in his final qualifying match.

Prajnesh had earlier defeated local wildcard Harry Bourchier and Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann. It was a close first set which went into tie-break, where Prajnesh faltered to hand early advantage to his opponent.

In the second set, Gulbis broke Prajnesh in the first and third games to race to a 3-0 lead. From there on, the Indian found it tough as Gulbis held his serve to close out the contest that lasted for one hour and 20 minutes.

With Prajnesh’s ouster, India’s campaign in singles ended in the qualifiers. Earlier, Sumit Nagal suffered a straight-set loss to Mohamed Safwat of Egypt to crash out in the first round of the qualifiers on Thursday.

Ramkumar Ramanathan on Tuesday made an early exit along with lone Indian contender in women’s singles qualifier, Anikta Raina.

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