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Prajnesh Gunneswaran vs Brandon Nakashima: Orlando ATP Challenger Finals Preview and Prediction

Fourth seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran locks horns against the World number 202, Brandon Nakashima in the finals of the Orlando ATP Challenger. 

Key Insights:

  • This is the first meeting between Prajnesh and Nakashima.
  • This is Prajnesh's second consecutive final on the circuit after finishing as the runner-up in the Cary Open last week losing to Denis Kudla in three sets.
  • Prajnesh will finish as the highest-ranked Indian singles player at the end of the year overtaking Sumit Nagal.
  • Nakashima is coached by grand slam champion, Pat Cash and Dusan Vemic, who is a long-time friend of World number 1, Novak Djokovic.
  • Nakashima is playing his first ATP challenger final of 2020.
  • Nakashima is yet to lose a set in this tournament.

 

The World number 137 overcame homeboy, Christopher Eubanks 6-4 7-6 in the semifinals. He smashed eight aces and saved three of his five breakpoints to sail through to the finals.

On the other hand, Nakashima thrashed compatriot, Mitchell Krueger 6-1 6-3. He won 86% of his second serve points and clinched three out of four break points to book his place in the summit clash. 

The American has a strong forehand and a powerful two-handed backhand and effectively moves the ball around the court. Though the teenager is not so athletic, he has perfect footwork and good anticipation skills. 

He is solid from the baseline and ice-cool under pressure. Nakashima has soared up the rankings after sitting at the 942nd spot last September. 

At the age of 31, Prajnesh is peaking quite late in his career. Despite facing injuries and inconsistency in his performances, the Indian has fought back with his relentless passion and steely focus. His main weapons are a big serve and a vicious forehand. 

Prajnesh will have to be at his best from the baseline and on the service if he wants to trouble Nakashima who seems to be in the middle of a purple patch. 

The Indian has to stay aggressive in the long rallies and try to return the ball deeply. He should reduce the count of unforced errors made on his forehand wing which is mainly due to the short returns that he hits. 

Nakashima loves to grind down his opponents with his suffocating style of play and Prajnesh would aim to advance to the net to finish off points quickly. 

Nakashima will look for hard-hitting and redirect the pace from a defensive position. After coming up short in the Cary Open ATP Challenger last week, Prajnesh would be more determined to win the finals this time and pocket the title.

Prediction - Prajnesh Gunneswaran to win in three sets

Featured Image Credits - Indian Tennis Daily - Twitter 

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