CHENNAI: After the draw, both coach, Zeeshan Ali, and Rohit Rajpal, captain, quietly punched the air. This was the draw they wanted and this was thwe day they got. The two-day World Group Round I tie between India and Finland will begin with India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran facing off against Otto Virtanen. They wanted this tie because Virtanen, just 20, is No 419 in the world. Having played only two matches at this level, this was the visitors’ best chance at putting pressure.
Both of them believe that Gunneswaran, 11 years his senior and World No 165, will hold the edge. “I think the draw works in our favour,” Ali said. “If Prajnesh can pull it off, it takes a lot of pressure off Ramkumar who will play their No 1 (Emil Ruusuvuori) in the second match.” Rajpal sang from the same hymn sheet.
“We are happy that our No 1 is first up. If he plays to his potential, then God willing we should go one up.” However, the 31-year-old had a minor injury scare with his wrist a few weeks ago. That problem, though, has resolved itself according to Ali.
Today’s matches (from 8.30 pm IST)
Otto Virtanen vs Prajnesh Gunneswaran; Emil Ruusuvuori vs Ramkumar Ramanathan