Prajnesh shocks Ashutosh in ITF futures first round

September 9th, 2008 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Eighteen-year-old Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who lost both his previous matches to Ashutosh Singh, got the measure of the fifth seed Tuesday, outlasting him in a gruelling three-setter in the $15,000 PNB ITF men’s futures tournament at the R.K. Khanna stadium here.Prajnesh, the losing finalist to Ashutosh in the last national championships, saved two match points on his way to a 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(7) first-round victory.

Both players served well and it could have been anyone’s match, so gripping was the fare. The first and third sets were decided on tie-breaks. In both sets, Prajnesh held his nerve, as he came back from down 1-4 to take the first set and edged past eventually in the decider.

In the second set, Ashutosh cashed in on an early break and then all he had to do was to hold his serve, which he did.

In the decider, the games went with serve and in the tie-break Prajnesh was up against two match points. He wriggled out of it with good serve to record a thrilling win.

An ecstatic Prajnesh, who has been training in Spain for the past year and half, admitted that he was a bit wary of playing Ashutosh in the first round.

“Ashutosh was the last person I wanted to meet first up as he has beaten me in our two previous meetings. But I am happy with the way I played today considering that I have been practising just for a week on the hard courts here,” Prajnesh said.

” Training in Spain Tennis Academy helped as I have been hitting the ball well. I am now moving much better on the court,’ he said.

In the other matches, top seed German Peter Gojowczyk was made to toil by Rohan Gajjar in his 4-6,7-5, 6-2 victory over him whereas Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan registered a 6-3,7-5 upset win over third seed Korean Hyun-Woo Nam.

Meanwhile, fourth seed Sunil Kumar Sipaeya had it easy against qualifier Suresh Krishna as he thrashed him 6-4,6-0.

Vishnu Vardhan faced little challenge from Shivang Mishra as he pummelled him 6-1,6-1 while Tushar Liberhan defeated qualifier Prateek Bhambri 6-3,6-2.

Rupesh Roy shocked eighth seed Divij Sharan 7-6,6-3 and seventh seed Pakistan player Aqueel Khan overcame American qualifier Whit Livingston 7-6 (11), 6-1.

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