India’s campaign in the Australian Open’s men’s singles event ended on Friday (January 17) in Melbourne after the country’s top-ranked player Prajnesh Gunneswaran failed to make the main draw.
Ranked 122nd in the world, Prajnesh was ousted from the qualifiers after going down in straight sets to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the final round.
The 17th seed, who had earlier defeated local wildcard Harry Bourchier and Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann, lost 6-7 (2) 2-6 to Gulbis in his final round qualifying match.
It was a close first set which went into a tie-break, where Prajnesh faltered to hand an 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.
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, Ankita Raina.
(With inputs from agencies)