Four Indian tennis players will be in action at the Australian Open 2021 qualifiers, which begin on January 10. Get the full first round fixtures.
India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi, on Saturday, discovered their first-round opponents at the Australian Open 2021 qualifiers.
In the men’s singles draw, India’s top-ranked singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran will play against Brayden Schnur. The Canadian is ranked No. 207 in the ATP Rankings, 79 places behind the Indian tennis player.
The 31-year-old Prajnesh, who played in the last two editions of the Australian Open after successfully going through the qualifiers, will be looking to make it three on the trot.
If Prajnesh gets past Schnur, he will face either England’s Liam Broady or France’s Constant Lestienne in the second round.
Prajnesh’s Indian compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan will face Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis in his first-round clash. The 30-year-old Bagnis is a former Pan American Games gold medallist and is currently ranked No. 125 in the world.
Ramkumar has failed to make it to the main draw of Grand Slams in his last 16 attempts and will be eager to curb the trend this time around.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the men’s qualifiers are being held in Doha from January 10 to 13. The women’s qualifying event will be held on the same dates, but in Dubai.
India’s top-ranked women’s singles tennis player Ankita Raina, meanwhile, has been drawn against Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani in the Australian Open 2021 qualifiers.
Ankita Raina is currently ranked 180th in the WTA singles rankings while her opponent is at 206.
Youngster Karman Kaur Thandi, who earned her spot owing to her protected ranking of 208, will be up against Georgian player Mariam Bolkvadze.
Delhi-based Thandi is highly-rated but has played just one match in 2020. The 22-year-old also played in the 2019 Australian Open qualifiers but exited after the first round.
The four will carry India’s hopes in the qualifying round and will need to navigate through three qualifying matches to earn a place in the main draw of the Australian Open 2021 main draw, which begins in Melbourne from February 8.
All times are in Indian Standard Time (IST)
Sunday, January 10
Ankita Raina vs Reka-Luca Jani - 11:30 AM IST
Ramkumar Ramanathan vs Facundo Bagnis - 2:20 PM IST
Monday, January 11
Prajnesh Gunneswaran vs Brayden Schnur
Karman Kaur Thandi vs Mariam Bolkvadze