Australian Open: Prajnesh loses to Tiafoe on Grand Slam debut

The Indian qualifier lost the first-round match 6-7(7), 3-6, 3-6 to the American world No 39.

In a match that lasted an hour and 52 minutes, Prajnesh managed to win only two break points to Tiafoe's five.   -  getty images

Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s maiden Grand Slam appearance ended in disappointment after American Frances Tiafoe defeated the Indian in straight sets in the opening round of the Australian Open on Monday.

Tiafoe defeated Gunneswaran 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 6-3 to set up a second round clash with big South African Kevin Anderson.

The World No.39 American beat the Indian qualifier in a match that lasted an hour and 52 minutes.

Prajnesh fought hard in the first set which went into the tie-breaker after both players held their serve till the 12th game.

In the tie-breaker, Tiafoe got a mini-break and then closed the set at 9-7.

Once he won the first set, the American completely dominated the 112th ranked Indian in the second and third sets respectively.

Prajnesh’s first serve let him down in the second set and his success rate was 43 per cent compared to 72 per cent of the American.

Tiafoe converted two break points in the third and sixth game of the second set to take it to 6-3.

In the final set, Tiafoe got an important break of serve against the left-handed Gunneswaran in the eighth game and then closed the match in the ninth game to end India’s lone challenge in the singles event.

"It was a good experience. I played a good match overall, had chances in all sets. I struggled a bit with the sun, (it’s) different in Australia for some reason. Found it hard to adjust the serve from one side of the court.

"Usually it’s tough for the right handers earlier in the day. Noon to 2 maybe for the lefty’s. He (Tiafoe) had some issues in the first set with that. As the match went longer. That’s what I noticed. It got harder for me," said Gunneswaran.

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