Wimbledon 2019: Prajnesh Gunneswaran succumbs to error-prone game in straight sets defeat to Milos Raonic
Prajnesh Gunneswaran crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round after a 6-7, 4-6, 2-6 defeat at the hands of Milos Raonic.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, India's highest ranked singles player and only entrant into the Wimbledon main draw, exited on the back of an error-prone game after making a convincing start. Gunneswaran exited Wimbledon on Monday following a 6-7, 4-6, 2-6 defeat to Canada's Milos Raonic. This was his third main draw appearance at a slam and has yet to pick up a win.
Making his maiden appearance at Wimbledon after faltering in the qualifying last year, Gunneswaran had opportunities come his way. Additionally, the Indian showed no signs of nerves - given the occasion - but it was the regularly rising count of unforced errors that cost him dearly in the end.
Having started brightly, Gunneswaran matched Raonic, a former Wimbledon runner-up, from the back of the court. He had the chance to edge ahead in the ninth game of the first set with the score 0-30 on Raonic's serve but the Canadian clawed back. Two big, booming serves and heavy groundstrokes later, Raonic had held serve.
As first set tiebreak approached, Gunneswaran's game started to drop. The serves which were on point thus far were going long, missing the centre by a good margin; groundstrokes started to get wayward and the percentage game, employed for the major part of the match, was going down.
It came to a head in the tiebreak. It began with a double fault to hand an early mini-break. With no chances coming on Raonic's serve, Gunneswaran couldn't make his serve count either. Back-to-back errors quickly brought up set point for Raonic. The 28-year-old forced the Indian into an error on the serve to take the first set in 42 minutes.
The second and third set followed a different script. The intensity dropped from Prajnesh while Raonic went about his business professionally.
Raonic bagged breaks in the first game of both sets to make the headstart. Even as Raonic started to accumulate errors too, he backed it up with winners to remain ahead. The difference in winners tells the story of the gulf between the two players: Raonic finished with 38 winners to Gunneswaran's 13.
In the third set, with the second round looking far away for Gunneswaran, he was broken for the second time and third time in the match. With a convincing lead, Raonic got the job done with a hold to love. He will next face Robin Haase in the second round with the Dutchman earlier beating Jozef Kovalik.
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