Chennai Open: Bopanna starts campaign against Wawrinka

Saturday, January 1, 2011

CHENNAI - Top seed and title favourite Tomas Berdych, the World No.6 from the Czech Republic, will take on Portuguese journeyman and 101 ranked Frederico Gil in the first round of the Aircel ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament commencing here Monday.

Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist, is the highest ranked player in the 32-man singles main draw that has defending champion and second seed Marin Cilic of Croatia taking on Japans Kei Nishikori, ranked 98, in his lung-opener.

Meanwhile, of the three Indians in the main draw, Somdev Devvarman, a direct entry based on his current ranking of 106, was slated to clash with a qualifier as also Yuki Bhambri, a wild card entry.

Fellow-Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna meets third seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka in a first round clash between two wild card entries that will be a repeat of last years match at the same stage. Wawrinka had won 6-1, 6-4, and went on to reach the final where he lost to Cilic in two tie-breaks.

Wawrinka had originally decided to skip Chennai Open, but later changed his mind and by then the list of direct entries was finalised. However, the organisers decided to grant him a wild card in view of his credentials.

The main draw that was made here Saturday afternoon, pitted fourth seeded Richard Gasquet (France, 30) against a qualifier while No.5 Jeremy Chardy (France, 45) takes on Slovakias Blaz Kavcic, sixth seed and Serbian Davis Cupper Janko Tipsarav (49) will go up against Argentinas Eduardo Schwank.

Belgiums Xavier Malisse (60), the only player to win a double at the Chennai Open, and seeded seventh, meets Turkeys Ilhan Marsel while Robin Haase (65), the eighth seeded Dutchman was drawn to meet Canadas Frank Dancevic in the other first round matches.

Speaking at the draw ceremony, Bhambri, the 18-year old from Delhi, said: This is my fourth visit to Chennai. I have been here for the past couple of days and hope to do well.

Devvarman, who is expected to meet the winner of the Wawrinka vs Bopanna tie in the second round, said he has been putting in a lot of hard work since arriving in the city of his school days well in advance in a bid to acclimatise.

It is always nice to return to Chennai and I have been here for the past five days, getting used to the conditions. I have been hitting the ball well, said Devvarman who had a good 2010, winning the singles gold medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Commenting on Bopannas contest against Wawrinka in the first round, Devvarman said: Rohan has had two good matches on the Centre Court during the Davis Cup while Stan has had a good year. It should be a good match.

Filed under: Tennis

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