Prajnesh Gunneswaran was outgunned by Elias Ymer in an energy-sapping baseline slugfest to end as runner-up at the KPIT-MSLTA Challenger in Pune on Saturday.
Playing his second final after winning the Bengaluru Open last week, Prajnesh lost 2-6, 5-7 to the third seeded Swede. The 29-year-old Indian had lost the final of the 2016 edition of the tournament as well.
He served 12 aces at crucial points – when it was 30-30 or 40-30. It made a huge difference to the outcome of the game as he saved all four break points in the one-hour-27-minute match.
With 48 points in his tally, Prajnesh, who is in the form of his life, will now move to his career-best singles rank of 104.
“May be I need to get stronger to last in such long rallies but I could have played better. I need to get quicker and hit heavy so that I can take away two steps from him so that he does not return everything,” said Prajnesh after the match.
“He deserved to win, he played better than me throughout. I had my chance but he made extra balls. I was 9-0 (matches) coming into this match and definitely tired now,” he said.
Prajnesh will now try to win a main draw entry into the Australian Open by winning the Asia-Pacific Play-off in Zuhai.
Ymer said playing under the lights suited his style of play.
The match ended with Prajnesh losing his serve in the 12th game at love with a forehand error.