India's Saketh Myneni defeated Serbia's Pedja Krstin in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, in the third round of US Open qualifying, to advance to the main draw in New York on Friday.
This is the first time that the Indian has made it into the main draw of a tour-level event.
Saketh, aged 28, had previously lost in the third qualifying round at the Australian Open and bowed out in the second round of the French Open qualifiers earlier this year.
Ranked 143 in the world, Saketh defeated Albano Olivetti of France and USA's Mitchell Krueger in the first two rounds of qualifying and followed it up with an easy victory over Krstin, which took only 56 minutes.
This will be Saketh's first Grand Slam appearance and he will play against World No 48 Jiri Vesely in the first round. If he wins, he could face World No 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round.
The last male Indian player to feature in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam was Yuki Bhambri in the 2015 Australian Open. Bhamabri, currently ranked 171 in the world, lost to Andy Murray in the first round back then.
Pedja went into the contest 1-0 up in head-to-head record with a win over the Indian in Turkey in May last year but proved to be no match for Myneni on the day.
In the first set, Myneni broke Pedja thrice while the Serbian broke him once with the duration being 30 minutes.
The second set finished in only 26 minutes as Myneni broke him thrice and wrapped up the match in style.
It didn't help that Pedja had four double faults and could only hit two aces compared to Myneni's seven.
Saketh was cheered on by his group of supporters from the sidelines throughout the three rounds of qualifying. Calling themselves the "Saki Squad", Saketh's friends and fans carried cut-outs of him during the final round to spur him on.
— FootSoldiersofTennis (@FSOTennis) August 26, 2016
Watch the winning moment of Saketh's match below:
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) August 26, 2016
(With inputs from PTI)
Published Date: Aug 27, 2016 01:00 pm | Updated Date: Aug 27, 2016 06:28 pm