Prajnesh loses in Orlando Challenger final, records second straight runner-up finish

Prajnesh Gunneswaran finished runner-up at the Orlando Challenger as he lost 6-3, 6-4 to American Brandon Nakashima in Sunday's final.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran

Prajnesh Gunneswaran's runner-up finish at the Orlando Challenger will see him climb to the 128th spot on the ATP rankings to become India's top-ranked tennis player.   -  R. Ragu

Prajnesh Gunneswaran finished runner-up at the Orlando Challenger as he lost 6-3, 6-4 to American Brandon Nakashima in Sunday's final.

This is the Indian's second straight runner-up finish after he reached the final at the Cary Challenger last week. The result will see Prajnesh climb to the 128th spot on the ATP rankings to become India's top-ranked tennis player.

The Indian southpaw was unable to convert any of his eight breakpoint opportunities that came his way in the contest that nearly lasted 90 minutes.

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The turning moment in the opening set came in the sixth game when Prajnesh was serving at 2-3, 30-all. He buried a forehand to the net to offer his opponent a break point, but saved it with an ace. Another forehand error by Prajnesh gave Nakashima another chance but the Indian saved that too with a well set-up winner.

However, Nakashima’s strong ground-strokes brought him another chance and this time Prajnesh could not save, sending a backhand over the baseline, and the American took a 3-2 lead. Nakashima went on to pocket the first set 6-3.

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Prajnesh got off to a poor start in the second set as he was broken in the third game and then squandered two breakpoint opportunities in the next game to hand his opponent a 3-1 lead.

The Indian had a chance to make it 4-4 but did not convert any of the four break points he got in the eighth game as 19-year-old Nakashima held on to claim his maiden singles Challenger title.

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