Indian Davis Cupper Prajnesh Gunneswaran squandered initial advantage to lose to Denis Kudla of the USA in three sets in the final of the Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary. The fourth-seeded Indian lost 6-3, 3-6, 0-6 in the men’s singles summit clash of the ATP Challenger event in one hour 33 minutes on Sunday.Also Read - Novak Djokovic Has Not Shared His Vaccination Status: Australian Open Chief

Prajnesh, ranked 146th, started on a bright note, putting up a dominant display to take the opening set of the USD 52,080 hardcourt tournament. Also Read - Schedule for Australian "Summer of Tennis" Announced, Australia Open From Jan 17

However, the Indian southpaw was unable to keep the momentum going as the second-seeded American came back strongly in the next two sets to claim the title. Also Read - Novak Djokovic Leads The Rankings With Three New Faces In ATP's Top Ten List

“It was a pretty good week. After a long time, I was playing in a final. (Before break) I had good results on the Challenger tour and played ATP tour,” Prajnesh was quoted by PTI.

“Then I had physical issues after which I could not play my best, so could not play like this. It’s been nice, specially after the long break,” he said.

Prajnesh said that his main aim was to get back his match sharpness. “I was just trying to get back to this level in terms of my tennis, my fitness and match sharpness. All came together this week. Also beating a couple of former top-20 players was definitely a confidence booster,” he added.

“Being able to play long matches also give me the belief of sustaining. Of course, I came short in the final but I have to just review the match.

The Indian seemed satisfied with his performance in the tournament. “Overall, happy with the week. Could have done a few things differently in final. I am getting closer to where I want to be.”

Prajnesh had got the better of Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in the quarterfinals before receiving a walkover against Denmark’s Mikael Torpegaard in the semifinal.

He had also beaten former top-10 American Jack Sock earlier in the tournament.

This was Prajnesh’s seventh Challenger finals. The 31-year-old Indian has won two title — Anning (China, April 2018) and Bengaluru (November 2018).

(With PTI Inputs)