French Open: Nagal, Ramanathan in 2nd round of qualifiers

India’s highest-ranked tennis player in singles, Sumit Nagal, took a step closer to securing a spot in the French Open main draw, defeating Italys Roberto Marcora 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of qualifiers.

Another Indian, Ramkumar Ramanathan, also moved into the second round of qualifiers after rallying past the higher-ranked Michael Mmoh of the USA 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Tuesday while Prajnesh Gunneswaran failed to cross the first hurdle.

Nagal, 23 — currently ranked 143rd in the world in singles and who competed in the main draw of the Australian Open this year — was in good touch against his 192-ranked Italian opponent, dominating from the start.

Nagal will now take on 23-year-old Chilean Alejandro Tabilo (world ranking 166) in the second round of qualifiers.

The 215th-ranked Ramanathan won his first match in six years on French clay after winning on his debut at the Roland Garros qualifiers in 2015.

On Tuesday, the 26-year-old Indian, despite the overcast conditions, kept chipping and charging against his American opponent to clinch the second set tie-break with a serve-and-volley point. He hit 26 winners past Mmoh during the rain-interrupted contest.

Ramanathan will take on world No. 33 and Asian Games champion, Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, in the next round.

Gunneswaran, currently ranked 151 in the world and seeded 32nd in qualifiers, continued to flounder in the qualifiers, losing to Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-2, 6-2.

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