Claudio Fortuna of Italy clawed his way back from a set down to defeat fifth seed V.M. Ranjeet 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the pre-quarterfinals of the TVS-ITF Futures tournament at the Madurai Union Club here on Thursday.

Both players were slow off the blocks, dropping their opening service games in the first set. Even after that, it was a battle of attrition as they struggled to hold.

Both players had a slew of unforced errors, but the opportunistic Ranjeet finally broke in the tenth game to wrap up the first set.

Ranjeet failed to seize the momentum and dropped his first service game in the second set too. A failed drop shot was followed by backhand going wide and a forehand long.

In the fourth game, Ranjeet failed to cash in on three break points, and Fortuna held on.

After that, the Italian started finding his range on the serve, and started holding fairly comfortably. He also broke Ranjeet again — in the ninth game — to take the set.

Ranjeet shrugged off a shoulder niggle — the trainer had to be called ahead of the third set — as both players raised their game in the decider.

While Fortuna breezed through his service games, Ranjeet fought valiantly to hold. Fortuna had a look in on Ranjeet’s serve in the sixth and eight games. The Italian, though, broke Ranjeet in the twelfth game to close out the match.

In the other pre-quarterfinal, seventh seed N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth had an easy 6-3, 6-1 win over Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Other results (singles) (pre-quarterfinals): Victor Crivoi (Rou) bt Lassio Urrutia Fuentes (Chi) 6-3, 6-3; Tom Schonenberg (Ger) bt Patrick Ciorcila (Rou) 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4; Filippo Leonardi (Ita) bt Thales Turini (Bra) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3; Tak Khunn Wang (Fra) bt Maximilian Dinslaken (Ger) 6-3, 6-2; Vijayant Malik bt Vinod Sridhar 6-1, 4-6, 6-4; Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan bt Giulio Torroni (Ita) 6-3, 6-4.

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper