Prajnesh Gunneswaran battles past Majchrzak to reach Kunming Open final

Prajnesh Gunneswaran will take on Jay Clarke in Sunday's Kunming Open final, where the Indian will defend his title.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran is the second seed at the Kunming Open.   -  K.V. Srinivasan

Defending champion Prajnesh Gunneswaran stormed into the final of the Kunming Open after battling past Poland's Kamil Majchrzak 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4 in the semifinal on Saturday.

The second seed will face Britain's Jay Clarke in Sunday's final.

In a closely fought first set, Majchrzak gained the upper hand when he broke in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. The Pole had a chance to serve for the set, but Prajnesh did remarkably well to break back and hold serve to restore parity at 5-5.

The duo exchanged a couple of breaks again in the 11th and 12th games and forced a tiebreaker. Prajnesh gathered his nerves and held on to win the tiebreaker 7-5 and pocket the opening set.

The top-ranked Indian soared to a 3-0 lead in the second set and appeared to be cruising into the final, but Majchrzak wasn't one to go down without a fight. The third seed clawed back to make it 3-3 and managed to win breakpoints in Prajnesh's next two service games, but failed to capitalise on them. The second set, too, ended in a tiebreaker and Majchrzak won five points on the trot to push the match to the third set. Incidentally, this was the first time Prajnesh dropped a set in the tournament this year.

Much like the second, Prajnesh got off to a fantastic start in the deciding set. He broke Majchrzak's serve in the first and fifth games to seize control of the match and cruised to a 5-1 lead in quick time. Majchrzak did show signs of a comeback but it was too little too late as Prajnesh clinched the tie off his first match point in the 10th game.