Kannan scored a battling 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5) win over qualifier Prajnesh GP in an all-Tamil Nadu pre-quarterfinal encounter that lasted an hour and 39 minutes at the KSLTA courts.
Serving for the match leading 6-1, 5-4 after breaking his opponent in the third game of the second set, Prajnesh faltered at a crucial juncture in the tenth game.
Trailing 30-40, Prajnesh hit a forehand long to hand his team-mate a lifeline as Kannan stayed in the match at 5-all.
The set then went into a tie-breaker with Prajnesh moving ahead early with a 2-1 lead. But Kannan levelled the scores at 3-all before going in front when Prajnesh volleyed wide. The 31-year-old Kannan took the match into the decider by claiming the tie-breaker 7-4.
Kannan and Prajnesh played a tight service game in the third set and at 6-6, the decider too went to a tie-break.
A whipped forehand passing shot and a crosscourt winner helped Prajnesh gain a 3-1 upperhand. But Kannan managed to stage another comeback and levelled the scores at 5-5. And when it mattered the most, Kannan came up with an ace to reach match-point.
The AITA tourney winner earlier this year in Madurai in February booked his last-eight berth when Prajnesh’s overhead volley found the net. Karnataka’s Sheethal went down to Treta Bhattacharya 1-6, 5-7 and bowed out in the last-16 stage.
Wild card entrant Vinod Gowda created an upset by beating eighth seed Vignesh Veerabhadran of Tamil Nadu 6-2, 6-2 in the pre-quarters.
Results (pre-quarterfinals, prefix number denotes seeding): Men: 5-Vijay K(TN) bt Prajnesh GP (TN) 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5); 1-Vijay SP (TN) bt Sai SBR (AP) 6-4, 6-1; Vinod Gowda (Kar) bt 8-Vignesh V (TN) 6-2, 6-2; Saketh M (AP) bt 3-Ajai S (TN) 6-2, 6-1; Vaidik M (Guj) bt Irfan H (TN) 6-3, 6-3; Mohammed F (TN) bt 4-Alan G (Guj) 6-1, 6-1; 7-SV Abhishek (AP) bt Saurabh S (Del) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 ; Mohit M (TN) bt Gugan V (TN) 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Women: Treta B (WB) bt 1-Sheetal G (Kar) 6-1, 7-5; 7-Archana V (Kar) bt Nova P (Guj) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2; 3-B Sowjanya (AP) bt Architaa S (Mah) 6-0, 6-1; 6-Abhilasha A (Har) bt Liza V (Kar) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3); Sonia D (Mah) bt Natalia K 6-2, 6-1; 4-Natasha P (Goa) bt Preethi S (TN) 6-2, 6-0; 5-Vaniya D (Del) bt Sayali B (Mah) 6-0, 6-1; 2-Zainab AS (AP) bt Disha S (Dli) 6-3, 6-1.