Top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran did his confidence a world of good as he battled past Vishnu Vardhan 7-6(4), 6-4 in the semifinals of the USD 15,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament at the BSP tennis complex on Friday.
The 27-year-old Prajnesh, ranked 342 in the world, recovered from a slow start when he trailed 2-5 in the first set. He converted four of seven breakpoints and handled the tie-break in the first set with competence after being down 1-3. Vishnu converted three of three breakpoints he forced, but could not capitalise on the favourable flow. In the second set, he was down 0-3 and eventually saved three matchpoints in the ninth game, but Prajnesh broke him at love in the 10th game to clinch the final berth.
It was the second victory in the professional circuit for Prajnesh over Vishnu, in as many meetings. In the final, Prajnesh will play second seed Sriram Balaji who outclassed the finalist of last week in Guwahati, Sami Reinwein of Germany.
The 363rd ranked Balaji, who is also part of the six-member Davis Cup squad like Prajnesh, will attempt to correct the 2-4 win-loss record that he has against his Tamil Nadu team-mate in the professional circuit. The 26-year-old Balaji, in partnership with Vishnu, won the doubles title as well, beating Alexaner Centenari of the U.S. and Sami Reinwein in straight sets. It was the third title in a row this season for the duo, who had lost in the quarterfinals of the first of four tournaments in Chandigarh.
Singles (semifinals): Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat Vishnu Vardhan 7-6(4), 6-4; Sriram Balaji beat Sami Reinwein (Ger) 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles (final): Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan bt Alexander Centenari (U.S.) and Sami Reinwein (Ger) 6-2, 6-4.
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