ANNING, April 21, 2019
Jay Clarke is the champion of the Kunming Open held on clay courts of the Anning Hotspring Peninsula International Tennis Center. The No. 14 seed from Great Britain defeated the No. 2 of the $162,480 ATP Challenger 125 event Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India 6-4, 6-3 in Sunday’s singles final.
Clarke advanced to the title match with wins over Matteo Viola from Italy, top seeded Australian Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth of Australia and Goncalo Oliveira from Portugal. The 20-year-old from Derby broke Gunneswaran’s serve five times to prevail after one hour and 34 minutes.
“It was a strange match. It’s never easy to play here in these windy conditions. The Centre Court is very open and the wind changes directions and makes it difficult to play clean. I handled it a bit better than him today. I am happy with the win, as he beat me two weeks ago in the last round of the qualifying in Miami. I knew I had to play smart tennis today,” Clarke was pleased afterwards.
By lifting his second ATP Challenger trophy, his first of the season and first on the dirt, Clarke takes away from China $21,600 in prize money as well as 125 ATP-Ranking points.
“It has been my first time to China and I liked it. The people are very polite. The tournament and the food was really nice. It’s easy for the players, as it is held at a resort and everything is on site. It’s very convenient.”
Clarke will next compete in Nanchang, followed by one week of training in Thailand and then he will travel to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, playing some more Challengers.
Aussie duo takes doubles trophies
Later in the day, Max Purcell and Luke Saville captured the doubles title. The all-Australian combination fought past David Pel from the Netherlands and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo of Chile 4-6, 7-5, 10-5.
The encounter lasted one hour and 42 minutes. Purcell and Saville share $9,300 in prize money as well as 125 ATP-Ranking points.