India got off to a disappointing start in their Davis Cup World Group I First Round match against Finland with Prajnesh Gunneswaran losing in straight sets to Otto Virtanen, 3-6, 6-7(1) in the opening singles here on Friday.
Gunneswaran, who is coming back from a wrist injury and had undergone rehabilitation in his hometown Chennai, struggled for rhythm as his serve was broken in the sixth game. He did put up a better fight in the second set but Virtanen, at 419 ranked way down the list as compared to Gunneswaran, who is ranked 165, ramped up the pressure in the tiebreak to win the best-of-three-sets match in straight sets.
Gunneswaran struggled with his first serve, managing to land only 58 percent as compared to 73 by his opponent. He had two break points but could not convert even one while Virtanen converted one of eight chances.
Though Gunneswaran refused to blame the injury for failing to play his game on Friday, he wished he had played more matches in the runup to this Davis Cup tie.
“I have played better before but obviously didn’t do what I needed to do today. I feel like I couldn’t convert on some of the close situations,” Gunneswaran said, admitting that he committed mistakes at crucial times while his opponent came up with a better response on some of the big points.
“It was a combination of him coming up with the goods on the big moments and me not doing enough,” he said in the post-match interaction.
India’s hopes now depend on Ramkumar Ramanathan, who will take on Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori in the second singles. Gunneswaran hoped that Ramkumar could get the better of Finland’s top singles player and make it 1-1 on the first day of the two-day encounter.