After the semis win over Go Soeda, Indian No. 2 Prajnesh Gunneswaran took time out to speak to ITD Volunteer after the match
ATP Monterrey Challenger, Mexico
[R1] (7) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,278) d. (WC) Ryan Harrison (USA,522) 63 64
[R2] (7) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,278) d. Alex Rybakov (USA,368) 76(1) 61
[QF] (7) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,278) d. (3) Jason Jung (TPE,223) 16 75 64
[SF] (7) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,278) d. Go Soeda (JPN,275) 67(7) 76(4) 64
[F] (7) Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND,278) vs. (1) Fernando Verdasco (ESP,150)
Thoughts on the match
It was a very close match. Go Soeda should have won the third set and I should have won the first set. I’m very glad that I pulled it through.
Crucial stages in the match
I had too many chances where I didn’t convert from 0-30 15-40 which I let him get away with. I was up in the 1st set tie-breaker and gave away 2-3 free points. I wasn’t good in those situations but I was very good mentally in terms of staying in it and trying to put pressure and waiting for that opportunity when he makes a couple of mistakes.
He had some patches where he was playing very well – no mistakes, some huge rallies where in the end of 20 shots, he would hit a winner. So that’s pretty special. Even on set point in the 1st set tie-break, I made him work a lot and then he still ended up winning that point. I could have been a bit more aggressive in the situation but still he had to make that many balls and put it away, so credit to him.
I’m very glad that I got through this. It was a big challenge mentally for me today.
Being 1-4 down in the 3rd set – what were your thoughts?
It seemed a bigger lead than it was because it was only one break of service. I had been holding serve comfortably in general outside of that one service game. So I just told myself to focus and make sure that I don’t give away any more service games.
I knew that I would have some chances to break even though he had only two more service games to finish the match. I got my chance in an unlikely game where he was leading 30-0 but somehow I managed to get back to 30-30 and then there was pressure on him. I just played a good game at the right moment and managed to find my way back into the match.
At 3-4 I had a lot of pressure. That game was very close and it was big for me to hold onto that game. Go Soeda was leading in the set throughout and I thought if I got it to 4-4 after being 1-4 down, I would probably have a little bit more of the momentum.
At 4-4, I played a very good game to get to 0-40 and make the break in that game.
You had a 2-2 H2H coming into this match. What was the game plan?
I was hoping that I would play earlier in the day where it was a little hotter and the ball bounces a bit more and flies a bit more which suits me, especially with my spin. It was pretty different at night, much colder. I felt my balls were falling a little too short.
I didn’t come with a game plan. So I ended up having to figure things out during the match. I ended up having to run a little too much because of that. I played too many balls to the centre, too short and it helped him to dictate. I should have done better in that situation but I found my way through it.
Tomorrow it’s an early match.So back to regular conditions it will be more sunny and bouncy. So it will be like every other match that I played this week except this one.
You’ve been playing with a knee band. Can you share a bit more detail?
Yes my knee has been hurting a little bit since Davis cup. It was light pain over there but has started to act up a little bit more now. I’m just managing it and we’ll see how it goes after this week.
Given the tough last few months, your ranking has fallen quite a bit.So how important was this for you.
It’s big. I haven’t had a lot of deep runs in a while now. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that even though I’m not yet at my best, I am able to have this run.
I have my spin back and I think it makes a big difference and clearly I’m able to get the results when I have that and when the conditions suit me in a way.
So a few things are going my way and I’m playing closer to my higher high level.
Thoughts on the final against Fernando Verdasco?
He is someone whom I have seen a lot on TV. We all know how good he plays and how dangerous he is and how much power he has in his game.
It will be a big test for me. I have to come and be aggressive from the get go.
Thoughts on playing in Mexico? You have been there a couple of times.
I like Mexico, I feel very comfortable here. I have played a couple of times in Los Cabos and this is my first time in Monterrey. I have not gone around to explore but I have read on how it is a holiday destination.
I will try to take some time at the end of this week and look around.