After winning the first two rounds in the ongoing Indian Wells Masters, Prajnesh Gunneswaran has expressed that the wins are really big for him as managed to prove him at the top level. Gunneswaran has also explained that it was not easy to remain mentally tough in the third set of the second round.
Gunneswaran is having a brilliant run in his first-ever ATP Masters 1000 tournament at Indian Wells as he has won two back-to-back matches against his opponents who are placed above him in the ATP rankings. After winning the qualifying round of the tournament, the 29-year-old Indian defeated France’s Benoit Paire before getting the better of the world no. 18 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 in the second round yesterday. The win against Georgia’s Basilashvili, which came in two hours and 32 minutes, was the first victory for the Indian against a player who is ranked below 20 in the world.
“It is definitely a big deal, it’s huge for me [because] I proved to myself that I can stay at this level constantly. I am really happy I won especially [given] the way the match went. In the second set, I was extremely close to getting the break and maybe being close to winning the match. From there, even having chances in the tiebreak and out of nowhere when he just stepped up and played a few good points. He took the tiebreak and the match was level all of a sudden,” Gunneswaran told Scroll.in.
“It wasn’t easy as I had to find a way to get back my composure and stay tough mentally to take the third set and the match which was a big deal for me. I had to keep the same quality, level and intensity in the third set and that is extremely difficult to do. I am happy I could. I think this is one of my best matches mentally and I’m showing myself that I can be at this level,” Gunneswaran explained.
Gunneswaran will now take on Ivo Karlovic in the next round of the tournament. He is having a wonderful year so far as the 29-year-old managed to enter the top 100 on the ATP ranking list and also qualified into a Grand Slam for the first time after getting into the main draw of the Australian Open. In 2018, he had won his first ATP Challenge title in April and made his maiden appearance in the ATP main draw in June.
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