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Around [Jan 2018], Chennai’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran was languishing at a lowly 246th in the ATP rankings and uncertain of what the future had in store. In the last 12 months, though, the 29-year-old has had nothing short of a meteoric rise, winning an Asian Games bronze medal, two ATP Challenger titles and beating world No. 27 Denis Shapovalov among other achievements.
Just two weeks into 2019, however, he has already topped the year just gone by. On Friday, Prajnesh – who is the highestranked Indian player in the world now at No. 112 – made it to his maiden Grand Slam main draw when he fought back from a set down to beat Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 in the final qualifying round of the Australian Open. Prajnesh is only the third Indian in the last five years to feature in the men’s singles main draw of a Grand Slam, the others being Somdev and Yuki Bhambri.