Corentin Moutet wins Chennai Open challenger

Chennai: Corentin Moutet outplayed Andrew Harris of Australia in straight sets to clinch the men’s singles title in the ATP Chennai Open Challenger, here on Sunday.

The second-seeded Frenchman completely dominated Harris – who defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the semi-finals – beating him 6-3, 6-3 to win his third challenger title.

In what started out as an evenly poised contest till the sixth game with the score at 3-3, Harris suddenly began to struggle with his serve and committed a lot of forehand errors. This allowed Coutet to take the upper hand and with some good defensive display. The left-hander broke Harris’ serve in the seventh game to take the lead. Coutet continued his domination in the court and broke Harris once again in the ninth game to clinch the first set 6-3.

The Australian continued to struggle with his serves by committing way too many unforced errors and went out of the contest as Moutet broke him twice in the second set to take an unassailable 4-0 lead. Harris, however, managed a late comeback and broke Moutet’s serve once. He then saved two more match points in his serve and won three games before Moutet bounced back to win the set 6-3, eventually winning the match and the title.

Speaking after the win, Moutet was coy in his response. When asked about his strategy for the final he said “I tried to be better than Andrew in every aspect of the game and tried my best. It was a good week and it was my first tournament in India. We arrived early here to be ready and I did my best every day.”

Reflecting on the loss, Andrew Harris, who made his maiden appearance in a Challenger event final said “I didn’t execute it really well. It was a pretty bad match for me and Moutet played really well.” Having won against Prajnesh, who is also a left-hander in the semis Harris said “Prajnesh played a lot flatter compared to Moutet who played more high. There was a little more shape and high off the baseline. It was a tough matchup,” he said.

When asked about the areas he felt he needed to improve, the Australian said: “I have to improve my game overall but mainly I have to work on my returns, backhand slices and serve.”

Ranked 145 in the world Corentin Moutet received USD 7,200 and 80 ATP points after the win while Andrew received USD 4,240 and 48 ATP points.

Aaditya Anand M