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Prajnesh Gunneswaran vs Benoit Paire: Winston Salem Open - Second Round Preview and Prediction

India's top single's player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran stormed into the second round of the Winston Salem Open after outlasting World's 253rd ranked, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 6-4. 

The match was highly competitive in the initial stages but Cedrik lost his serve in one game and Prajnesh raced to a 6-3 lead. The trend continued in the second set as well, after the players split eight games equally. A crucial breakthrough for Prajnesh in the ninth game handed him the set and the match.

The Indian tennis player will be delighted with his clinical performance as he finished off the match in quick time without any hiccups. He will meet the World's 30th ranked Men's singles, Benoit Paire in a challenging encounter, tomorrow.

Paire is one of the most talented players on the tour with tremendous potential, but a negative attitude has led to his downfall many times. He has turned in a new leaf this season with his consistent performances walking the talk. The Frenchman has to stay calm while playing in this game as it will help him in getting more consistency.

It has been one of the breakthrough seasons for Benoit Paire. He began with a quarterfinal finish in the ATP 250 - Pune Open and lost to Thiem in an epic five-setter in the first round of the Australian Open. 

The Frenchman has experimented with challengers for more match practice. He teamed up with the veteran Leander Paes for some tournaments and the pair clicked as they reached semifinal of the Montpellier Open, Sofia Open challenger, Hassan Open challenger, and quarterfinals of the Dubai Open and Antalya Open.

The Spaniard Pablo Andujar edged him in three sets in the Marbella Open challenger final. Benoit Paire got his revenge when he thrashed Andujar 6-2, 6-3 in the Marrakech Open challenger final. The win was not only a boost to his confidence levels but also an indication of his consistency. 

He continued to impress as he won the ATP 250 - Lyon Open for his second title of the season defeating good players like Cuevas, Shapovalov, Fritz, and Felix Auger on the way.

He suffered a heartbreaking five-set defeat to Nishikori in the fourth round of the French Open, a match he should have won. Benoit Paire also began his hard-court campaign with a quarterfinal showing in the Washington Open where he lost to Tsitsipas.

Prajnesh, on the other hand,  has steadily climbed up the rankings with some consistent performances breaking into the top 100. He made it to the first round of the Australian Open after winning three rounds of qualifying before losing to Tiafoe in straight sets. His notable performances were a semifinal finish in the challengers' tournaments in Chennai and Bangkok, and runner up finish in the Anning Challenger.

He made great progress in the ATP 1000 - Indian Wells where he beat Caruso, Paire, and Basilashvilli before losing to the big-serving Karlovic. Prajnesh showed why he loved playing on hard courts so much, reaching the main draw of the Miami Open after winning two qualifying matches before losing to Munar in straight sets.

He continued his good run, reaching the main draw of the French Open, but could not get past the first round as he lost to Dellien in straight sets. Prajnesh compensated that disappointing performance by reaching the pre-quarterfinal, where he lost to Sonego in straight sets. He scalped a big win against Millman in the Los Cabos Open. Taylor Fritz defeated him in three sets in the pre-quarterfinal ending his fairytale run.

Prajnesh got better of Paire in their only meeting at the prestigious Indian Wells in straight sets. The Indian is entering into this fixture after a tremendous victory against Cedrek. That means his confidence must be high and he will give his everything in order to progress to the further rounds.

Prediction 

Prajnesh Gunneswaran to win in three sets.

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