Prajnesh breezed past Ivan Nedelko of Russia by 6-2, 6-2 in the first round
Prajnesh Gunneswaran made a dominating start to his Bengaluru Open campaign by registering an easy 6-2, 6-2 win over Russia’s Ivan Nedelko at the centre court of KSLTA Stadium.
Prajnesh, who is also the top-ranked Indian in the draw, had only a little difficulty against his Russian opponent, as he trounced Ivan in straights. As a result, the match was over in less than an hour. The most notable aspect of the Indian’s game was the way he used his forehand to deceive Nedelko on multiple occasions. Also. it was with this play that he amassed most of his 57 points.
“I’ve been working specifically on my forehands over the last year,” Prajnesh later confirmed after the match.
Dimension to Prajnesh’s play was his serves which troubled Nedelko throughout the contest. On his return, the latter stretched awkwardly at the last minute to somehow put the ball back into play. However, Prajnesh was at the ready, who would graciously smack the lobbed shot for a forehand winner.
“It was my first match in these conditions after playing in China [Shenzhen Challenger]. I also got here a bit earlier than my opponent so I felt I had the advantage,” said Prajnesh.
Next challenge for him will be from German qualifier Sebastian Fanselow in the second round.
Upset of the Round
Even though Prajnesh impressed with his stellar performances, it was another match between the top-seeded Radu Albot and Egypt’s Youssef Hossam that hogged the limelight.
Albot, who was considered as a favourite to win the tournament, lost out by 6-2, 2-6, 2-6 in the first-round against Youssef Hossam, who is a World No. 483.
Albot, who’s ranked 101st in the world, started on a winning note by clinching the first set 6-2 with relative ease. However, the second set saw a stunning comeback as Hossam, a 20-year-old rising Egyptian tennis star, made amends for his error-ridden first set. He returned more confident and inflicted a 2-6 win of his own on Albot. He then went on to clinch the game with another 2-6 victory in what became the upset of the round.
Another Indian, Sasi Kumar Mukund too advanced to the second round beating Collin Altamirano of the USA in 7-6, 6-3 sets.
First round: Zizou Bergs (Ger) beat Kevin Krawietz (Ger) 6-1, 6-2; Saketh Myneni beat Adil Kalyanpur 6-3, 7-6 (3); Youssef Hossam (Egy) beat Radu Albot (Mda) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2; 4-Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat Ivan Nedelko (Rus) 6-2, 6-2; Sasi Kumar Mukund beat Colin Altamirano (US) 7-6 (6), 6-3; Blaz Kavcic (Slo) beat 8-Filip Peliwo (Can) 6-1, 6-2; 6-Quentin Halys (Fra) beat Suraj R Prabodh 6-3, 6-1; Brayden Schnur (Can) beat Max Purcell (Aus) 6-4, 7-6; Sebastian Fanselow (Ger) beat Zsombor Piros (Hun) 7-6 (6), 6-4.