Chennai, June 1 (IANS) Prajnesh Gunneswaran capped his fine run by defeating third seeded Vijayant Malik 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the final of the MPTA ITF Men’s Futures tennis tournament here Saturday.
In an 108-minute match, the unseeded Gunneswaran drew first blood when he broke Malik in the third game without conceding a point and then held serve to lead 3-1 and 4-2.
Malik held serve in the seventh and then began to slow down the pace while keeping the ball short and low. This unsettled Gunneswaran who dropped serve in the eighth.
Thereafter, the next four games went to serve with Malik fluffing a set point in the 12th which proved costly as Gunneswaran eventually won the tie-break to take the set.
An inspired Gunneswaran raised his game to play his best at this point.
Displaying powerful ground strokes, he raced to a 3-1 lead. However, Malik held serve in the fifth and then broke in the sixth to level at 3-all.
In the seventh, Malik wasted three breakpoints after Gunneswaran committed three forehand errors. Thereafter, Gunneswaran kept it tight to win the next three games and close the match.
Gunneswaran received Rs.80,000 and 18 ATP points which should lift his ranking from current l895 to within 700 in the world while Malik went home richer by Rs.46,000 and picked up 10 ATP points.