Prajnesh Gunneswaran loses in Kunming Open final

Defending champion Prajnesh Gunneswaran went down 6-4, 6-3 to Jay Clarke of Britain in a match that lasted an hour and 34 minutes.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran went down in the final of the Kunming Open.   -  Getty Images

Prajnesh Gunneswaran's Kunming Open title defence fell flat on Sunday as he slipped to a 4-6, 3-6 loss to Britain's Jay Clarke.

The result will see Prajnesh break into the top-80 rankings for the first time and cruise to a career-high ranking of 74. Having already sealed his spot in the French Open main draw, the 28-year-old Indian has also assured himself of a maiden main draw appearance at the grass courts of Wimbledon.

Clarke seized the early advantage by claiming the break in the fourth game, but the Indian broke right back to trail 2-3.

The 20-year-old Brit would break again to take a 5-3 lead and earn a chance to serve for the opening set, but an unrelenting Prajnesh fought back again to break serve. The topsy turvy nature of the set continued and Clarke had the last laugh as he broke the Indian for the third time to clinch the opening set.

The duo exchanged breaks to begin the second set and Prajnesh squandered two breakpoints in the third game, which would go on to cost him dearly.

The turning point of the tie came when Clarke stormed to a 4-2 lead after another break of serve and put himself firmly in the driver's seat.

The world number 211 collected his nerves to see off the win and claim his career's second Challenger title. The title win will see Clarke soar to a career-high ranking of 160.

The results:

$162,480 Challenger, Anning, China

Singles (final): Jay Clarke (GBR) bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran 6-4, 6-3.