Prajnesh to meet Sanam

Second seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran showed nerves of steel on his way to a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) win over a fighting Vishnu Vardhan in the men’s singles semifinals of the LMW-ITF Futures tournament here on Friday.

Both players were equally strong with their serves, but it was third seed Vishnu who gained an early break in the first set. He cashed in on the chance to clinch it 6-3.

However, the next two sets saw the big-serving Prajnesh from Chennai at his best. He put more weight behind his shots and also came up with some good passes.

Change in strategy
Prajnesh, who saw Vishnu approaching the net often, changed his game plan. He came up with good first serves and pinned Vishnu to the baseline. The strategy worked as Vishnu choked and Prajnesh won the set to take the match to the decider.

In the third set, with both players holding serve, the tie-breaker came into play.

Vishnu, in fact, had the chance to break Prajnesh in the ninth game as Prajnesh double-faulted, hammered wide and even hit an easy volley into the net. But, Vishnu failed to cash in.

In the tie-breaker, Prajnesh stood strong as Vishnu seemed to feel the pressure. A close line-call, which he felt had gone against him, added to the pressure.

Vishnu lost his cool which led to a delay. He was warned twice for time and code violations. From there, a frustrated Vishnu lost his focus and the match.

In the other semifinal, Sanam Singh got past Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-4, 7-6(2).

Vijay Sundar, while going for a shot, hurt his ankle, but chose not to go for a medical time-out as he enjoyed a break point.

Despite the pain, Vijay carried on bravely only to lose the contest.

“It never feels good playing against somebody who is injured, but I remained focused. It was unfortunate for Vijay,” said Chandigarh’s Sanam, who has nine Futures titles under his belt.

Later in the day, top seeds Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan fashioned a comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Anvit Bendre and Vijay Sundar Prashanth for the doubles title.

The injured Vijay looked quite uncomfortable from the start and, Bendre was left to shoulder the responsibility of covering the entire court.

He did a good job for most part but the top-seeded pair managed to wrap up the match with ease.

The results: Semifinals: Sanam Singh bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-4, 7-6(2); Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Vishnu Vardhan 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3).