Melbourne: Prajnesh Gunneswaran on Saturday qualified for the main draw of Australian Open starting January 20 as a ‘Lucky Loser’.
Gunneswaran on Friday had lost to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-7 (2), 2-6 in the final round of the qualifiers and was out of contention to make it to the main draw.
However, due to a couple of injury withdrawals (Alex de Minaur and Kamil Majchrzak) and a doping suspension (Nicolas Jarry), India’s top-ranked player Prajnesh has made it to the main draw of year’s first grand slam. de Minaur has pulled out of the event due to an abdominal tear.
Prajnesh, ranked World No. 122, will take on Tatsuma Ito of Japan in the first round of the competition on Monday. If Prajnesh manages to beat Tatsuma, he could possibly set up a clash against world No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the next round.
The 30-year-old had last year made it to main draw of every single Grand Slam.
A ‘lucky loser’ is a player who loses a match in the qualifying round of a knockout tournament, but who then enters the main draw when another player withdraws after the tournament has started because of illness, injury, or other reasons.