The Australian Open 2019 qualifiers began just a couple of days ago and there has already been plenty of thrilling tennis action since then.
The no. 1 seed in the women's qualifying draw, Vera Zvonareva, was stunned by Astra Sharma, an Australian of Indian descent. Sharma has made great strides in her career so far and was one of the top players in the US collegiate circuit as well.
Most of the top men's seeds have gone through to the second round. There have been a couple of upsets, however, as veterans Marcos Baghdatis and Simone Bolleli were both knocked out in the first round itself. Australia's fan-favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis has moved into the second round, winning his first match with ease.
Meanwhile, out of the four Indians who took part in the draw, three of them, namely Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, and Ankita Raina have progressed to the second round. However, Karman Kaur Thandi bowed out in the first round itself.
Thandi was up against 16th seed Jennifer Brady and had an extremely nervy start, losing the first set 6-0. She performed a lot better in the second set and had her chances as well. Unfortunately, the Brit was too good for her and won the second set 7-5, thus winning the match as well.
On the other hand, Ankita Raina made a winning start to her campaign, achieving an extremely easy win over Myrtille Georges from France 6-2 6-2. She will now take on 29th seed Paula Badosa Gibert from Spain.
“I have been working on my serve for the last six months and today I got some dividends from it. My first serve percentage was high and got me many points but most satisfying was winning points on my second serve. Usually, that used to be low,” Ankita told PTI after her win.
In the men's category, Ramkumar Ramanathan kicked things off for the Indian contingent, winning his match against Spain’s Sergio Guiterrez-Ferrol in straight sets - 6-3 6-2, in the opening round. He will now take on Rudolf Molleker from Germany in the second round.
“It was a very close match. We played a very long game at 2-2 on my server, I held. He also held his own but after the new balls came in I broke him. I served well and that helped. At big moments also, my serves came out well,” explained Ramkumar.
India's no. 1 ranked tennis player and world no. 107, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, began his campaign today against Serbia's Viktor Galovic. He continued his fine run of form, defeating the Serb in straight sets - 6-4, 6-4.
He will now take on Enrique López-Pérez from Spain, who defeated former top 50 player Donald Young of the United States of America.
Fixtures for Round 2:
Ramkumar Ramanathan vs Rudolf Molleker - January 10, 04:30 IST(approx)
Prajnesh Gunneswaran vs Enrique López-Pérez - January 10, 07:00 IST(approx)
Ankita Raina vs Paula Badosa Gibert - January 10, 04:30 IST(approx)