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French Open 2018: Prajnesh Gunneswaran goes down in final round of qualifying

300   //    25 May 2018, 18:20 IST

Prajnesh Gunneswaran

India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s hopes of playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career got dashed as he crashed out in the final round of qualifying at the French Open 2018 in Paris on Friday. The 28-year-old bowed out 3-6, 4-6 to the 13th seeded Elias Ymer of Sweden in 1 hour 27 minutes.

The Indian southpaw’s mounting unforced error count did not help him at all and that was pretty much the reason why he failed to do any kind of damage to the young Swede’s game, despite getting many opportunities. Gunneswaran finished with 13 winners against 37 unforced errors.

In contrast, his 22-year-old opponent made 11 winners against just 24 unforced errors. Gunneswaran was presented with 9 break points, out of which he managed to convert only one. The 122nd ranked Ymer, on the other hand, raised his level on break points and got success thrice in four chances.

The 183rd ranked Gunneswaran was the only Indian to reach the final round of qualifying at the claycourt Major this year. He beat Italy’s Salvatore Carruso in the first round and then upset the 32nd seeded Marcelo Arevalo in the next round.

He has had a good run of form lately, winning the final rubber to send India into the World Group play-offs at the Davis Cup. He then took that confidence on the ATP Challenger circuit and won his maiden crown in Kunming.

Earlier, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal both perished in the first round. In women’s singles qualifying, Grand Slam debutante Ankita Raina too failed to cross the first hurdle.

That leaves Yuki Bhambri as the only Indian in the singles draw at the season’s second Major. The 94th ranked Delhi player has got a direct entry into the French Open for the first time and will play World No. 113 Yen-Hsun Lu.