Prajnesh Gunneswaran lost rhythm and energy before staging a mini comeback but eventually bowed out of the Australian Open qualifiers with a second-round defeat against Germany’s Maximilian Marterer, here on Wednesday.
Up against a rival, who served big and packed a lot of power in his strokes but placed seven places below him at 228, Prajnesh lost 2-6 6-7 (8-10) in one hour and 26 minutes.
With Prajnesh losing the battle of the left-handers, Yuki Bhambri is now the only Indian surviving in the qualifiers. Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina have already exited the competition.
Down 2-6, 2-4, Prajnesh managed to stretch it to a tie-breaker but squandered many a set point to lose the match.
Prajnesh handed the German two break chances in the fourth game of the match when he made a volley error after setting up the point and followed that up with wide forehand.
The Indian saved the first chance with a big serve while Marterer’s backhand slice landed just outside the baseline on the second. An engrossing rally, that put Prajnesh’s backhand to test against the German’s forehand, ensued in the sixth game.
Prajnesh’s strokes began to lose power and precision after losing that energy-sapping rally and the German began to dictate terms. Early in the second set, Prajnesh went from 40-0 to deuce and was down a breakpoint when he sent another shot long. Marterer finally prevailed.
Yuki Bhambri has his task cut out as he faces world No. 130 Tomas Machac from Czech Republic on Thursday.

By admin