India’s tennis ace Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s impressive run in Indian Wells came to an abrupt end as he went down in straight sets to veteran Ivo Karlovic. After beating the likes of Benoit Paire and Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first and second round respectively, the Indian looked to gain momentum.
The top-ranked Indian singles player was having a dream run in his first ATP Masters 1000 tournament after he had just caused a major upset by beating World No. 18 Basilashvili in the previous round. Ahead of his clash against a 40-year-old Karlovic, many were pegging the vibrant youngster to go all the way.
However, the experience is invaluable and although the Croatian international took an hour and 13 minutes in the third round to overcome Gunneswaran, he eventually won 6-3, 7-6(3) win. The 29-year-old Indian qualifier did have his chance though as he got two breakpoint opportunities in the first set itself. However, he couldn’t stand up to the big-serving Karlovic, who managed to save both of them breaking the Indian late in the first set and win it.
The second set was going to be close, especially with Karlovic losing stamina as the game progressed. It went right to a tiebreak with no breaks whatsoever, and it needed one of them to mess up. Unfortunately, it was Gunneswaran who faltered this time too, with Karlovic, who had shot 16 aces and 35 winners, eventually edged past him in the pre-quarters.
Karlovic became the oldest to win a Masters 100 match after overcoming Borna Coric in the second round.
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