Pune: Putting up the best performance of his career, India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran breezed into his first ever singles final at the ATP Challenger level with a fluent straight-set win over Korea's Duckhee Lee in Pune on Friday.
The unseeded Indian, ranked much lower than Lee (152) at 346, raced to a 6-2 7-5 win over the second seed Korean in the semifinals of the KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in just 63 minutes.
Pranjesh, who is a left-hander, made a nervous start as he began with a double fault but soon got control over the proceedings with Lee also helping his cause by committing a lot of unforced errors.
18-year-old Lee, who is born deaf, was unusually erratic on Friday as he also struggled with his first serve.
26-year-old Prajnesh will now fight it out for the title with Frenchman Sadio Doumbia, who knocked out sixth seed Serbian Nikola Milojevic 5-7 6-3 6-2 in the other semifinal.
Prajnesh struck the ball clean and consistently put the ball in the court. He broke Lee in the fifth game after a long rally to take the lead and again broke him in the seventh to cruise to a 5-2 lead.
He served out the set with an ace in a matter of 24 minutes.
In the second set too, Prajnesh broke the Korean in the fifth but lost his own serve in the eighth game at love with Lee finding a forehand winner on first breakpoint.
Lee started to play slightly better, engaging the Indian in rallies but Prajnesh was up to the task and broke him in the 11th and served out the match in the next game, again with an ace.
"I had beaten him in Bangkok, so I knew what to expect from him. My gamestyle suited to play him. Being a left-hander I could play on backhand of right-hander high up in his shoulder," Prajnesh, who trains in Germany, said after the match.
Playing in the quarterfinals of the Delhi Open Challenger early this year was the best show of the season for him before this tournament apart from winning a Futures singles title in Chennai.
The doubles pair of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Vijay Sundar Prashanth were ousted 3-6 6-3 11-13 by France's Hugo Nys and Swiss Luca Margaroli.
Meanwhile, the women's final will be played between Sowjanya Bavisetti and Mihika Yadav.
Left-handed Bavisetti beat sixth seed Pranjala Yadlapalli 6-4 6-1 while Mihika knocked out fourth seed Prarthan Thombare 6-4 5-7 6-1.
The women's doubles trophy was lifted by top seeds Sharmadaa Baluu and Dhruthi Tatachar Venugopal with a 6-4 6-0 win over second seeds Riya Bhatia and Shweta Rana.
Published Date: Oct 29, 2016 11:55 am | Updated Date: Oct 29, 2016 11:55 am