Gunneswaran beats Popko, enters semis of Orlando Open

Orlando (USA), Nov 21 : India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran defeated Dmitri Popko of Kazakhstan in straight sets to enter the semi-finals of Orlando Open tennis. The fourth-seeded player turned in a dominating 6-0, 6-3 performance, earning six breaks along the way against a weary sixth-seeded Popko, who had spent more than four hours on court the day before between singles and doubles. Gunneswaran will now face Christopher Eubanks of the United States in the last four. The 31-year-old Indian smashed two aces against none by his Kazakh opponent. Gunneswaran won 61% of the first-serve points and 58% of the second service points. He also saved 67% of the break points. The world No. 137 was clearly the more dominant of the two in winning the service points (60% against 30%), return points (70% against 40%) as well as the total points (64% against 36%). Eubanks, on the other hand, smashed 17 aces but was also forced to overcome 10 double faults to knock out No. 2 seed and fellow American Denis Kudla. Eubanks and Kudla each won 128 points for the match, but Kudla's 2-of-18 conversion rate on break chances proved the difference in the 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 marathon that could have gone either way. In the other semi-final, American Mitchell Krueger will face compatriot Brandon Nakashima, who is a teenager. /IANS


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