Mumbai (Bengaluru) : It seemed as if all the roads led to Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association as the crowd thronged to the venue of the final of the US $ 150,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger, hoping for a humdinger of a match. Fireworks did flow but only from the racquet of fourth seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran who took just 56 minutes to brush aside the challenge of Wild Card entrant Saketh Myneni in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 to wear the crown here on Saturday.
“I am happy to have won here. I think I played good tennis through the week and the hard work has paid off,” said an elated Prajnesh who garnered 125 ATP points as well as the winners cheque of US $ 21,600 and could see a jump of over 30 ranks and if he continues in the same vein in Pune, he could well be in for the first Grand Slam of the Year.
In an elaborate prize presentation held amidst a cheerful crowd, the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka Dr. G Parameshwara gave away the prizes. Priyank Kharge, the Minister for Social Welfare who is also the organizing committee chairman was also present during the ceremony.
Going in the match with a break in the very first game, Prajwal grew in confidence as the game progressed and never looked in any kind of trouble but for a few unforced errors which were more in number by his opponent. While Prajnesh was consistent, Saketh, for his part, showed flashes of brilliance but committed too many errors which forced him to concede his serve in the seventh game after which Prajnesh served out for the set. “I began on a good note and built on it. I must congratulate Saketh for reaching the finals after an injury prone season.
Beginning the second set in a similar fashion, Prajnesh seemed to be in complete control and his opponent complimented him with his share of errors. “I did too many mistakes at the wrong time,” admitted Saketh who on the virtue of reaching the final has got a special entry for the upcoming Pune Challenger.
One more break in the fifth game, despite two good shots from Saketh, gave Prajnesh a route to for a a firm finish in closing out the match by the second set itself. “Going into the game, I had expected a good match. However, the early break in both the sets helped me a lot,” said Prajnesh who is hoping to cap the season with a good finish in Pune next week.