THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Prajnesh Gunneswaran has been in the form of his life of late. His inclusion in the Indian team that will host Uzbekistan in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group I second round tie, to be played in Bengaluru next month, is proof enough.
Ranked 325 in the world, Prajnesh is yet to win a Davis Cup cap for his country but is hopeful he will feature in the April 7 to 9 tie. “Obviously playing for India has been a dream since the early days in tennis,” he said.
Prajnesh may come up against Uzbekistan’s Dennis Istomin at Bengaluru — their first meeting after he lost to the Uzbek in a tight three-set wild card playoffs at the Australian Open last December. Istomin went on to upset defending champion Novak Djokovic in the main draw. “I don’t think that will be a factor which will decide whether I will play or be in the reserves. But coming that close to winning against him has given me confidence that we are capable of getting a result in the Davis Cup,” Prajnesh said.
The southpaw is in the city to play the Indian Oil XtraPremium ITF Futures at the Trivandrum Tennis Club here — the first ever Futures to be held in Kerala. On Wednesday, he defeated Taipei’s Hung Jui-Chen 6-3, 6-4 to progress to the quarterfinals.
Prajnesh is playing his third Futures in a row. At Bhilai, he defeated N Sriram Balaji 6-4, 6-2 in the final but at Bengaluru, there was a reversal in fortunes when the latter won 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. “I am happy with my performance, but I want to win this one,” he said.
“I don’t see this tournament as a training ground for the Davis Cup, but this is what I do. If not here, I will be playing elsewhere,” the 28-year-old said. Prajnesh will now play sixth seed N Vijay Sundar Prashanth on Thursday.
In other matches, second seed Sriram beat Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 while third seed Vishnu Vardhan overcame Anurag Nenwani 6-1, 6-4. Kerala’s Haadin Bava beat seventh-seeded Rishab Agarwal 7-5, 6-2 and will now face Vishnu.