Prajnesh Gunneswaran’s dream run at the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event came to an end in the third round after a 3-6. 6-7 (3) loss to big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic.
The Indian No. 1, who beat the likes of Benoit Paire and Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first two rounds, is likely to jump to a new career-high 82nd in the ATP rankings.
In the tournament, Gunneswaran set multiple milestones such as qualifying for maiden ATP Masters 1000 event, winning first match at the level with a win over a top-20 player and becoming the first player since Somdev Devvarman in 2011 to reach the Round of 32 at Indian Wells.
Prajnesh was broken at 3-4 in the first set and Karlovic needed two set points to get the job done and take the opening set 6-3 in 28 minutes.
The second set was more competitive than the first with just one break point between the two players. It came in the third game of the second set on Prajnesh’s serve but the leftie saved it with an ace on the second serve down the centre to catch Karlovic off guard.
With neither players able to make inroads on the other’s serve, the second set moved to the tiebreak. Twin errors by Prajnesh on the forehand gave Karlovic back-to-back mini-breaks and a comfortable 4-1 lead.
On the fourth point, Prajnesh tried to go deep on his forehand but sent the ball long and on the next point he smacked the shot right into the net with the tall Croatian charging to the net.
Karlovic crossed the third round hurdle with his 16th ace of the match and 54th of the tournament.
For his effort, Prajnesh earned 61 ATP points including 16 for qualification and 48,775 US Dollars in prize money.