Chennai: Mukund’s fantastic run ends & Prajnesh suffers an upset

By Vandana Elangovan

On a hot sultry day, with the Chennai sun blazing down, the day started with a bang for Indians with Mukund Sasi Kumar starting where he left off. Before the second seed could blink and think, the Indian lad broke him in his first service game and was 3-0 up in the first set. As the players settled into a rhythm, Moutet found his footing, to break back the Indian and brought it back on serve at 4-3. Mukund broke right back and closed out the first set at 6-3.

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Looked on by 100-odd spectators and a couple of children from a tennis academy, the second set stayed on even footing for both the players, despite a couple of unforced errors and double faults creeping in Mukund’s game. A double fault at 4-5 30-30 suddenly saw the Hyderabadi lad staring down at a set point and the Frenchman grabbed the opportunity to close out the second set with a service winner down the line.

From then on, there was a complete momentum shift and the 19-year old Moutet never took his leg off the pedal and the unforced errors from Mukund weren’t helping. The world no #145 eventually closed out the match in an hour and forty-four minutes.

The top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran took the field right after but was having an off-key game,  with a lot of uncharacteristic unforced errors creeping in. Before the crowd could recover from Mukund’s loss, the Indian was down 2-4 and was trying to stay afloat. A frustrated Prajnesh, showed his class in bits and patches but the Australian sailed to a set and a break lead. The Australian to his credit earned applause from the Chennai crowd with some fantastic passing shots and backhand winners.

IMG_0323.JPGA rejuvenated Prajnesh showed vigour and fought his way back into the match by breaking back the Aussie to get back on serve. Prajnesh also saved three break points from 0-40 to hold on to his serve at 4-3 and broke the Aussie in the very next game to eventually win the second set 6-3.

 

Harris stepped up his gear in the third set, blazing out winners and controlling the tone of the match. His one-handed backhand came out in full force and moved Prajnesh side to side. A couple of double faults at inopportune moments saw Prajnesh trailing 0-4 and then it was a mental game henceforth with the Aussie knocking out to the top seed to move on to the finals.

Results:

[2] [#145]Corentin Moutet[FRA] d [16][#243] Mukund Sasi Kumar [IND] 3-6 6-4 6-2

[#347] Andrew Harris [AUS] d [1] [#103] Prajnesh Gunneswaran [IND] 6-4 3-6 6-0


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