Match slips from Prajnesh’s grasp after being one game away from victory

Match report by Arun Iyer

ATP Atlanta Open 250

[R1] Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,88) l (Q) Soonwoo Kwon (KOR,117) 76(4) 57 06

After a rain delayed start, Prajnesh found himself in a battle of survival against Kwon. His first service game lasted over 10 minutes in which he had to save six breakpoints! His serve came to the rescue time and again and he managed to hold. This would be a recurring theme in the match. Prajnesh’s serve was almost always under pressure with very few easy service games.This was in stark contrast to Kwon who held most service games with ease. Even though Prajnesh had the bigger serve consistently serving over 125mph, Kwon got more free points with his serve, thanks to his terrific serve placement.

The first set went to the inevitable tie-break. After trading mini-breaks, the tie-break remained on serve till 4-4 when Pragnesh got a mini-break. He proceeded to win the set with couple of big serves.

The second set followed the same pattern as the first with Prajnesh battling to hold serve. At 5-5, Kwon finally broke through on his twelfth breakpoint and won the set 7-5. Prajnesh had served 3 double faults in this game. This was the game in which the cramps started to severely impact Prajnesh’s physical movement.

At 0-1 down, Prajnesh raised the possibility of a comeback garnering couple of breakpoints on Kwon’s serve. Kwon was rock solid fighting them off. With the cramps still impacting Prajnesh, that was the straw that broke his resolve as Kwon proceeded to reel off the next four games to win the match.

It’s on to Los Cabos for the next tournament for the top ranked Indian player where he is in the main draw

Vatsal is a tennis player and fanatic. Currently learning French

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