Australian Open 2019: Prajnesh Gunneswaran advances to second round of qualifying

Prajnesh Gunneswaran in action at the 2019 Australian Open qualifying on Wednesday.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran in action at the 2019 Australian Open qualifying on Wednesday.

India No. 1 singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran began his Australian Open qualifying campaign on a winning note at Melbourne on Wednesday. The sixth seed and World No. 112 needed 1 hour 28 minutes to beat the 228th ranked Viktor Galovic 6-4, 6-4.

The Indian southpaw had impressive statistics on serve, producing six aces against no double fault. He was able to make 21 winners past his opponent and was fantastic at the net, where he had 92 per cent success.

However, the only area of concern was his 28 unforced error count. The errors did not help him in his return game and he had to squander eight break point opportunities out of the 11 that he earned.

This is Gunneswaran's first win of the year following his career-best season last year in which he won a couple of ATP Challenger titles. He suffered a first-round loss at the Tata Open Maharashtra last week.

Up next for the 29-year-old is World No. 213 Enrique Lopez Perez of Spain.

Prajnesh thus joined Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina both of whom won their first round of qualifying easily on Tuesday. While Ramkumar faces World No. 207 Rudolf Molleker of Germany next, Raina takes on the 29th seed Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain. All the three Indians play their second round on Thursday.

The only Indian casualty so far in the qualifying rounds of the season's first Major has been Karman Kaur Thandi.

Meanwhile, the women's singles qualifying witnessed a big upset on Wednesday as the top seed and two-time Grand Slam runner-up Vera Zvonareva was shown the door 3-6, 2-6 by Australia's 230th ranked Astra Sharma.

The men's top seed Lorenzo Sonego had no such trouble and made a fine run into Round 2. The Italian pummelled Great Britain's Jay Clarke 6-2, 6-3.

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Edited by Sripad
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