New York: Prajnesh Gunneswaran says he "did hit" world number five Daniil Medvedev with his game in the US Open first round but a twisted ankle did not allow him to be consistently aggressive. Competing in his fourth straight Grand Slam singles main draw this season, Prajnesh lost 4-6 1-6 2-6 to the Russian on Monday. Long rallies featured from the word go though Prajnesh took sometime to find his range.
The Indian left-hander began aggressively but could not maintain intensity after losing a well-fought first set at the Louis Armstrong Stadium."He is very consistent. He does not make many errors. But I did feel I was able to hit him with my game. I needed to do it consistently and for that I needed to move well, but I twisted my ankle and it made it a bit difficult," Prajnesh told PTI, reflecting on his defeat.
"He is very good on the backhand corner. Even if he goes on the run, he was good with his cross court, so that was one of the shots he used to neutralise my forehand even when I hit it well. But, overall, a good experience," added the 29-year-old from Chennai. The Indian dropped his serve in the first game of the match but broke back Medvedev in the fourth with a crushing inside-out forehand winner after serving at love.
The Russian broke back immediately when he placed a cross-court forehand from baseline in the open court. It was a dogfight out there but Medvedev nosed ahead again with another break of serve and consolidated it with a hold. Prajnesh mixed it up nicely by striking hard from the baseline with his free-flowing forehand and played some deft drop shots to set up points.
Prajnesh's body language was aggressive while Medvedev largely remained calm as he served big and his solid returns in long rallies helped him take those extra points. Unforced errors from Prajnesh when Medvedev served for the opening set made the job easy for the world number five. "I was very excited to play on Stadium court, the atmosphere. Someone, who is on top of his game, the world number five, I wanted to play him to see where I stand as opposed to his level," he said. So what's his assessment then?
"I am playing well, I do need to improve things here and there. That's always going to be the case. Probably I need to be little more consistent when I am aggressive. Not the way I did in the second and third sets. "That was because I twisted my ankle. But in general I need to be little more consistent," he said. Prajnesh began the second set with double faults and a forehand error at 30-all put him down by a breakpoint, which Medvedev converted.
From here it became a one-way traffic as unforced errors from Prajnesh continued to pile and soon he was down 0-3 with double break. He finally got on the board in the fifth game but was now trailing 1-4. The second set was over in no time with more and more errors flowing off the Indian's racquet. Medvedev took a medical timeout immediately after the second set to treat his left thigh but did not let Prajnesh take any advantage. He played smartly by making the points short with drop shots. Prajnesh only helped his rival's cause by not curtailing errors. He had lost steam and was going all out but the balls just flew over the lines. Medvedev had no trouble in closing the match in his favour after one hour and 24 minutes.