Following the withdrawal of world number 97 Kamil Majchrzak of Poland, Prajnesh Gunneswaran has become the first Indian tennis player to make the cut for the singles main draw at the upcoming 25th edition of the Maharashtra Open.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran is India's number one-ranked singles player and 123rd in the world. His most recent foray includes making the main draw of the ongoing Australian Open, where his run came to an end after losing 4-6, 2-6, 5-7 to Japan’s Tatsuma Ito.
Initially second behind Japan's Go Soeda in the alternate list, Prajnesh Gunneswaran was poised to go through the singles qualifiers but world number 111 Go Soeda's withdrawal leaves Gunneswaran as the only Indian in the main draw of the 28-strong singles playfield.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran adds local flavour
Having a local player assured of competing is always a desirable outcome for any organiser, as Maharashtra Open Tournament Director Prashant Sutar explained to PTI, “Prajnesh's entry marks Indian appearance in the singles main draw. It's always nice to see (an) Indian player competing in this tournament and we are organising this event with the sole intention that our Indian players benefit the most.”
Third time the charm for Prajnesh Gunneswaran?
The 30-year-old has played in the last two editions of the long-running tournament.
In 2019, he was eliminated in the round of 32 after losing 5-7, 3-6 to the USA's Michael Mmoh while in 2018, he failed to make it past the second round of qualifying, suffering a 5-7, 5-7 defeat to Brazil's Thiago Monteiro.
Heading into the 2020 edition, Prajnesh Gunneswaran will be hoping third time’s the charm.
Local and international stars to grace Maharashtra Open
Billed as South Asia’s only ATP World Tour tennis tournament, the Maharashtra Open will also see more Indian players in action, such as Divij Sharan in the doubles competition, and Sumit Nagal, who will be contesting the singles qualifiers, as well as international names such as Benoit Paire and Ivo Karlovic.
The Maharashtra Open is scheduled to take place at Pune's Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium from February 3-9, while the qualifying rounds will be played on February 1 and 2.