Chennai Open: Tough draw for Somdev, Yuki
Chennai, Dec 31 (IANS) Davis Cuppers Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri can find themselves running into two of the hottest players in the $450,000 Aircel Chennai Open tennis, defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka and top seed from Serbia Janko Tipsarevic, provided the home players survive their respective first round encounters next week.
The draw for the 28-player main tournament was held here Saturday and it pitted Devvarman against France's Eric Prodon in the first round. If the 26-year-old Indian wins, he is likely to face Wawrinka, the World No.17.
'It is still a long way before I play Stan (Wawrinka). Eric is a good player, so I have to be ready and I feel if I play well, I give myself a good chance to win,' commented Devvarman, the finalist in 2009.
Also to have a tough draw was Indian wild card entry Bhambri who was drawn against World No.9 Tipsarevic if he wins his first round match against Slovak Karol Beck.
The second Indian wild card Vishnu Vardhan was drawn to meet fifth seed Croatian and World No. 36 Ivan Dodig while Belgian wild card David Goffin was to face former champion and compatriot Xavier Malisse in the opening round.
Tipsarevic along with Spanish world No. 10 Nicolas Almagro, Wawrinka and Canadian World No. 31 Milos Raonic, the top four seeds in the 17th edition of India's only and South Asia's leading ATP World Tour event were given a bye in the first round of the 28-man draw.
Almagro will open against the winner of the first round contest between Blaz Kavcic of Slovakia and Belgian Steve Darcis while Raonic will take on the winner of the first round clash between American Sam Querrey and Victor Hanescu.
'It is a great tournament and is a good preparation to start the year. Last year, I was playing some of my best tennis and I hope I can start well this season and we'll see how it goes this week,' Wawrinka said.
'It has been very nice coming back here. I've played here 4-5 times and it is always nice to play in front of a good crowd. It is a good tournament to start the year with and has been getting stronger every year and hopefully I can match the tennis I played last year and have a good week,' said Malisse, the 2011 runner-up.
'This is a great opportunity for me, after six weeks of not playing or training much. It is a tremendous opportunity for me to not only start the year but also a great way to progress. It gives me the first week of the year to build on and is a good way to start the year,' Raonic said.
Meanwhile, in the doubles, Indian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna are the top seed and open their campaign against the Malisse and Briton Ken Skupski.
Leander Paes along with his Serbian partner Janko Tipsarevic are seeded No. 3 and were drawn against Devvarman and Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines in the first round.
The American pair of Rajeev Ram and Scott Lipsky is seeded No.2 and will open against Indian wild card duo of Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, while the other Indian wild card pair of Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash and Ramkumar Ramanathan was drawn against fourth seed Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel in the opening round.
Paes and Bhupathi reunited on the tour at the start of the 2011 season after a nine-year gap and bagged their fifth Aircel Chennai Open doubles crown, but announced this month that they were parting ways again.
Bhupathi and Bopanna have got together for the 2012 season with their sights firmly set on success at the London Olympics in July.