Indian tennis players Mukund Sasikumar and Prajnesh Gunneswaran made their way into the final qualifying round at the DafaNews Bengaluru Open 2023 after registering contrasting victories on Sunday.
The prestigious ATP Challenger event is being organised by the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) at the KSLTA Stadium in Bengaluru.
The 26-year-old Sasikumar, who is ranked 402 in the world, dominated the World No. 170 Andrew Paulson during his confident 6-1, 6-4 win. India No. 1 Gunneswaran, on the other hand, faced some tough challenge from Zimbabwean Benjamin Lock in the first set, which went into a tie-breaker, but managed to keep things under control to secure a 7-5, 6-4 victory eventually.
Meanwhile, it was heartbreak for Ramkumar Ramanathan, who put up a solid show against the former World No. 78 Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan before going down fighting 6-3, 5-7, 3-6 in a thrilling three-setter that lasted for more than two hours.
Four other Indians, Sidharth Rawat, Kriish Tyagi, Digvijaypratap Singh and Manish Ganesh, who came as wild cards, also gave it their all but suffered defeats in their respective matches.
The main event of the tournament will kickstart on Monday and the opening day will be inaugurated by Mr R Ashoka, Hon’ble Minister for Revenue, Government of Karnataka and President, KSLTA in the presence of Mr Eric Lamquet, Director, ATP Challenger Tour, and Mr Priyank Kharge, Member of Legislative Assembly, Government of Karnataka and Sr Vice President, KSLTA.
Top-seed Tseng Chun-Hsin, Australian Marc Polmans and No. 5 seed Luca Nardi among others will begin their challenge in the singles main draw whereas Sasikumar and Gunneswaran will fight in the final qualifying round earlier in the day.