India’s top-ranked singles player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran concluded the year on a disheartening note after losing out to Michael Mmoh of USA in ATP 250 Maharashtra Open’s first round of the on Monday.
The 29-year-old Indian, who had started 2018 ranked 243 in the world, had went on to reach a career high 104 earlier in November. However, an inconsistent display on his side gave Mmoh a clear advantage as he lost in straight sets of 5-7, 3-6.
Prajnesh was left broken in the opening game of the match when Mmoh raced to a 2-0 lead after the Indian gave away six unforced errors. Ultimately, this would prove to be the theme of the match.
Despite the nervy start, Prajnesh started to dominate proceedings from the third game onwards. It took him two unforced errors from the 107-ranked American, followed by scrumptious forehand winner to see off his first win of the match.
In the fourth game as well, Prajnesh played an aggressive brand of tennis, especially near the nets. After bagging some quick points from the net, he registered a winner just beyond his 20-year-old opponent’s reach to clinch another important point. Howbeit, Prajnesh went on to give away two unforced errors and the game in the process as he trailed 1-3.
That was an exact rendition of his play in the entire match, effective aggressive play that was followed by some needless unforced errors.
Prajnesh tried his best to make a comeback in the match, but couldn’t get past Mmoh, who won the first set by 5-7.
Having lost the first match, Prajnesh looked disappointed in the second one, thus making for a one sided contest. Mmoh knew he was in the lead and he smartly played it to his advantage, going into an out an out defensive mode. He elicited more unforced errors from the Indian, to take a 3-1 lead.
The game seemed to be in balance with the score locked at 3-5. However, Mmoh went on to clinch the game and eventually the match with 3 straight wins. He will now face Steve Darcis in the pre-quarterfinals.
Michael Mmoh (USA) vs Prajnesh Gunneswaran | 7-5, 6-3
Ernests Gulbis (Lat) vs Pedro Sousa (Por) | 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Steve Darcis (Bel) vs Roberto Carballes Baena (Esp) | 6-3, 6-4
Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) vs Pablo Andujar (Esp) | 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(6)
Jaume Munar (Esp) vs Radu Albot (Mda) | 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Gerard Granollers & Marcel Granollers (Esp) vs Nicholas Monroe (USA) & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan | 6-4, 6-4
Luke Bambridge & Jonny O’Mara (GBR) vs Purav Raja & Ramkumar Ramanathan | 7-6(4), 6-3
Sriram Balaji and Arjun Kadhe vs Philipp Oswald (Aut) and Tim Puetz (Ger) | 7-6(1), 4-6, [10-8].