Tennis

Tata Open Maharashtra | Prajnesh brings cheer to Indian fans

Steely show: Prajnesh kept his cool to oust Maden.

Steely show: Prajnesh kept his cool to oust Maden.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

The India No. 1 defeats Maden in straight sets; Kadhe loses to Vesely

India No.1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran won his first ATP Tour level main draw match at home following a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) defeat of Germany’s Yannick Maden in the Tata Open Maharashtra at the Balewadi Stadium here on Tuesday.

Prajnesh’s one hour and 38 minute win over the World No. 131 brought some much-needed cheer to the home crowd which had earlier in the evening seen a third Indian crash out when Arjun Kadhe was beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Czech Jiri Vesely.

Prajnesh started the match with three quickfire holds, giving away just two points. Maden was less clinical but protected his serve equally well. But at 3-4, a bout of nervousness, saw Maden shank a routine forehand and double fault, thereby conceding the crucial break to make it 5-3.

But the home favourite handed the break right back, courtesy a poor service game that saw him double fault twice. Prajnesh continued to wobble and at 5-5 a string of unforced errors gifted Maden a break opportunity. The fans heaved a sigh of relief when Prajnesh saved it with a fine inside-out forehand.

The match, inevitably, slipped into a tie-break but two backhand errors by Prajnesh allowed Madden to go 3-0 ahead. But the Indian dragged himself back to restore parity and he was helped in no small measure by his opponent who dumped two forehands into the net. With a huge ace and a service winner Prajnesh went 6-3 up. The set was had two points later when a Maden forehand sailed long.

Little to separate the two

The first game of the second set stretched to deuce with the Maden serve coming under pressure. But for that, there was little to separate the two in the first 10 games. Prajnesh had a 30-30 on the Maden serve but two wide returns put paid to his hopes. The Indian held to love to stretch the match into another tiebreak.

Prajnesh appeared to have had the contest firmly in his grasp when he gained a 4-2 lead, but let it slip by giving away three points in a row. What he required at 4-5 were steely nerves and he showed he had them in plenty when he executed a tough overhead and followed it up with an ace.

He sealed the match on his first match point with a crunching forehand winner.

“I held up quite well” Prajnesh said. “I served well, used my forehand well. The wrist and the elbow felt fine. It was much closer to my regular style. I am happy.”

In doubles, Leander Paes and Mathew Ebden outplayed second seeds Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak 6-2, 7-6(5).

The results (first round):

Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Yannick Maden (Ger) 7-6(4), 7-6(5); James Duckworth (Aus) bt Peter Gojowczyk (Ger) 7-6 (5), 6-4; Jiri Vesely (Cze) bt Arjun Kadhe 6-2, 6-4; Egor Gerasimov (Blr) bt Paolo Lorenzi (Ita) 6-2, 6-3; Ilya Ivashka (Blr) bt Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) 6-3, 6-2; Nikola Milojevic (Srb) bt Antoine Hoang (Fra) 7-6(5), 6-4; Roberto Marcora (Ita) bt Lukas Rosol (Cze) 6-3, 6-2.

Doubles: Leander Paes & Mathew Ebden (Aus) bt Divij Sharan & Artem Sitak (Nzl) 6-2, 7-6 (5).

On Monday: Salvatore Caruso (Ita) bt Ramkumar Ramanathan 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:47:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/tata-open-maharashtra-prajnesh-brings-cheer-to-indian-fans/article30737695.ece

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