India’s top ranked men’s singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s dream run in his first ATP Masters 1000 tournament ended after a straight set loss to Ivo Karlovic.
The 40-year-old Croatian had to work hard for his 6-3, 7-6(3) win, which took in an hour and 13 minutes in the third round of Indian Wells.
The 29-year-old Indian qualifier had two breakpoint opportunities in the first set, but big-serving Karlovic saved them both while a single break of serve was enough for him to the take first.
The second set went to a tiebreak with no breaks of serve but the the Croat, who fired 16 aces and came up with 35 winners, edged ahead into the first round. The 40-year-old is the oldest to win a Masters 100 match and had beaten Borna Coric in the second round.
Prajnesh’s loss comes after a breakthrough tournament. After qualifying for the main round, he defeated Benoit Paire in the first round of the tournament before an an upset win over World No. 18 Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round.
The 29-year-old qualifier, ranked 79 placed below Basilashvili, needed two hours and 31 minutes to win 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-6(4).