Second runner-up in a row for Prajnesh after final loss to Orlando

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With the first breaks catching up with him in straight sets, Prajnesh Gunneswaran finished second at the Orlando Open, losing the shock atop the ATP Challenger event against American Brandon Nakashima here on Sunday. Prajnesh lacked the power in his punches to injure the American, losing 3-6 4-6 in the $ 52,080 tournament on hard.

The Indian southpaw could not convert any of the eight break chances that arose in an hour and 28 minutes. This is Prajnesh’s second consecutive finalist. He reached the final at the Cary Challenger last week.

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The result will help Prajnesh move up to 128 from 137. He has already locked in India’s number one rank with his Orlando show. Serving 2-3, 30-all, Prajnesh hit a forehand to the net to score a break point, but saved it with an ace.

Another forehand error from Prajnesh gave Nakaksima another chance, but the Indian also saved her with a well-placed winner. However, Nakashima’s powerful ground punches gave him another chance and this time Prajnesh couldn’t save, sending a backhand over the baseline.

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An easy catch put the American in the lead 5-2. He returned to serve the set without any problem.

In the third game of the second set, Prajnesh lost his serve and wasted two break opportunities in the next game to let 19-year-old Nakashima run away with her first Challenger singles trophy. PTI AT KHS KHS

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