Vijay Sundar Prashanth knocked out the fourth-seeded Rohan Gajjar 7-6(5), 6-4 in the first round of the $10,000 ITF men"s Futures tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old Prashanth who trains without much guidance with the other leading players of the State at the Nungambakkam Stadium that hosts the annual Chennai Open, played solid and cut the pace to exasperate the tall Gajjar.

Unable to play the big game owing to the ‘fluffy’ balls that slowed down the game, the 25-year-old Gajjar failed to capitalise on numerous chances.

In contrast, Prashanth bided his time, by saving breakpoints on his serve in a few games in the first set, before forcing the tie-break. Prashanth took a 4-1 lead in the tie-break and eventually Gajjar doublefaulted to face three setpoints.

Gajjar saved two of those setpoints on his serve, but erred on the third in dropping the set.

Into the second set, Gajjar broke for 4-3, but thereafter, instead of stepping up his process of recovery, he failed to win another game. Prashanth won the next three games, breaking Gajjar twice, to record a memorable triumph.

Better record

“I liked playing with these balls, which become heavy and slow. I had beaten him in Bellary two years ago in an ITF tournament, and he has beaten me only in the junior circuit long back”, said Prashanth.

“It is one match. He played well and came up with the passing shots. I have a lot of tennis left over the next three weeks”, said Gajjar, who had made two back-to-back finals in the last two tournaments held at the same venue recently.

In another interesting match, national champion V.M. Ranjeet was in a spot of bother as he lost the first set against Kyle Brassington of Britain. However, instead of accelerating to a good finish, the Briton lost his cool on being denied a second ‘toilet break’ by the tournament referee as per the rules, and refused to make an attempt to win the match after two games in the second set.

Qualifier Aditya Madkekar pulled a shoulder muscle early in the match, and was unable to continue for long as the ‘catch’ did not let him compete on equal terms against the second-seeded Young-Jun Kim of Korea.

“It is one of those silly injuries. I could not do much. My whole upper body was getting cramped, and I could not even turn. There is no cure, and it is supposed to go away naturally,” said Madkekar, quite disappointed at the turn of events.

The results (first round): Max Jones (GBR) bt Ankit Sachdeva 6-1, 6-4; Ronak Manuja bt Yew-Ming Si (Mas) 6-3, 6-4; Rupesh Roy bt Vijayant Malik 7-6(5), 6-3; Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Rohan Gajar 7-6(5), 6-4; Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Yannic Nelord 6-3, 6-3; Peer Lucassen (Ned) bt Hyun-So Lim (Kor) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Sean Thornley (GbR) bt Vivek Shokeen 6-4, 6-4; TimBradshaw (GBR) bt Chandril Sood 6-1, 6-2; Chris Eaton (GBR) bt Mithun Murali 6-2, 6-2; V. M. Ranjeet bt Kyle Brassington (GBR) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; Sudanwa Sitaram bt Seung-Jae Lee (Kor) 2-6, 6-4, 6-0; Shane La Porte (US) bt B. Vikram Reddy 6-0, 6-2; Young-Jun Kim (Kor) bt Aditya Madkekar 6-1, 1-0 (retd.).s

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