Prajnesh Gunneswaranlost against Croatia's  Borna Gojo 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Prajnesh Gunneswaranlost against Croatia's Borna Gojo 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Unforced errors pulled Prajnesh Gunneswaran down against Borna Gojo, considered a weak link in the rival line-up, as India trail 0-1 against top-seed Croatia in the Davis Cup Qualifiers, here on Friday.

India's strategy to target Gojo fell flat with the young Croat trumphing higher-ranked Prajnesh 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes. Gojo, ranked 277th, had not won a singles match in Davis Cup earlier and Indians were hoping that the trend will continue.

Gojo peppered returns on Prajnesh's backhand side and served big. Most importantly, he handled pressure better than the Indian.

Ramkumar Ramanathan will now take on world number 37 Marin Cilic in a bid to bring India back in the tie.

Prajnesh had a break chance in the very first game of the match but Gojo saved that with an ace. Gojo served big and hit consistently on the backhand of the Indian, who had two more chances in the fifth game to break the serve of his rival but could convert none.

Gojo, though, kept providing the openings and Prajnesh finally drew the first blood when the Croat hit a forehand long in the seventh game.

Some good defending by Prajnesh meant that long rallies were in play and that worked in the Indian's favour. Gojo's unforced errors hurt him as one such forehand error handed Prjanesh the opening set after 39 minutes.

Prajnesh began to play aggressive from the beginning of the second set, going for his shots and in the process faced six break points in the first game, which lasted 11 minutes.

The left-hander saved five but Gojo found a backhand volley winner after charging to the net to nose ahead.

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Free Press Journal