ITF Men’s Futures: Prajnesh takes title

Defeats compatriot Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

The victory was Prajnesh’s fifth victory on the trot over Balaji in the professional circuit.   -  R. Ragu (File Photo)

Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat second seed Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-2 in just over an hour in the final of the USD 15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the BSP Tennis complex on Saturday. It was the fifth singles title in the professional circuit for the 27-year-old Prajnesh, ranked 342, and his fifth victory on the trot over Balaji in the professional circuit. Balaji had won the first round of Chennai Challenger in 2014 for the second of his two wins over Prajnesh in seven meetings.

The 26-year-old Balaji recovered from a slow start to lead 4-3, but Prajnesh won the next three games to take the first set. In the second, Prajnesh conceded two points in all while winning the first four games which firmly pulled the contest in his favour.

The loss in the final apart, it has been a good run for Balaji, who had finished runner-up to Yuki Bhambri in the first tournament of the current series at home. He won the next, beating Vishnu Vardhan in Jorhat. After losing in the second round in the third event in Guwahati, he did well to reach the final. Along the way, Balaji also won three doubles titles on the trot with Vishnu.

On the other hand, Prajnesh had rested and trained after the Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in Pune before joining the circuit in the fourth tournament. The players have two more events at home over the next fortnight in Bengaluru and Thiruvananthanpuram.

The results (final): Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-2.