Tennis

KPIT MSLTA Challenger: All eyes on Prajnesh

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MSLTA Challenger begins on Nov 19

Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the winner of the $150,000 Bengaluru Open on Saturday, will be watched with interest in the fifth edition of the $50,000 KPIT MSLTA Challenger starting here on Monday.

The relevance of promoting more Challengers in India has often been highlighted by Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and a host of Indian tennis professionals. Soon after the 29-year-old Prajnesh’s second Challenger triumph this year, Bopanna tweeted: “Another great example having a @ATPChallenger in India which has helped Indian players benefiting from it. We need more international tournaments in India and, hopefully, every State has minimum one.”

Prajnesh, who earned 125 ATP points, is expected to be ranked close to 100. A victory here will give him 80 points and further improve his chances of getting a direct entry into the Australian Open in January 2019. “There is an outside chance,” Gunneswaran told The Hindu on Sunday.

Two years ago, Prajnesh had lost to Frenchman Sadio Doumbia in the summit clash here but has improved since. In the absence of Yuki Bhambri (winner here in 2015 and 2017), the Indian challenge will be led by the No. 2 seed Ramkumar Ramanathan, No. 4 seed Prajnesh, Saketh Myneni (the runner-up at Bengaluru) and Sumit Nagal.

The other Indians in the main draw are the four wild card beneficiaries — Sasi Kumar Mukund, Manish Sureshkumar, Arjun Kadhe and Aryan Goveas.

Imporant results (qualifying second round): Danylo Kalenichenko (Ukr) bt Khumoun Sultanov (Uzb) 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4; Fransesco Vilardo (Ita) bt Sanjar Fayziev (Uzb) 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5; Ben Patael (Isr) bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth (Ind) 6-0, 6-3; Benjamin Hassan (Ger) bt Sriram Balaji (Ind) 7-6(7), 6-3; Sebastian Fanselow (Ger) bt Chien-Hsun Lo (Taipei) 6-3,6-3.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 1:05:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/kpit-mslta-challenger-all-eyes-on-prajnesh/article25532499.ece

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