India’s top singles player Somdev Devvarman was on Saturday drawn to a play a qualifier while wild cards Yuki Bhambri and Jeeven Nedunchehziyan will have to fight it out with top-100 players in their first rounds at the Aircel Chennai Open.
Ranked, 195, Yuki found world number 64 Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta as his first round rival. Jeevan (312) will cross swords with world number 84 Czech Jiri Vessely in the $450,000 event, starting December 30.
Last year Somdev had entered the main draw as a wild card. He won his first round against Jan Hajek (Cze) but lost to top seed Tomas Berdych.
Somdev, who made the final in 2009 as a wildcard, said he is focused to stay healthy during the 2014 season and play as many tournaments as possible.” On the draw he said, “Yuki has a tough match ahead. The draw is tough and lot of good matches are there for sure during the whole week.”
Fourth seeded and French world number 26 Benoit Paire, who was also present at the draw ceremony echoed that the field is very tight and we should not be going by the ranking of the players. “The draw is as tough as the field and it is difficult to predict the winners. No one player could be considered a favourite,” he said.
Meanwhile, the top four seeds in the tournament, starting from world number eight and Swiss top seed Stanislas Wawrinka, second seed Mihail Youzhny, who is winner of 2008 edition, third seed Fabio Fognini and fourth seed Benoit Paire have been granted byes into the second round.
Ramanathan, Sanam progress
Ramkumar Ramananthan and Sanam Singh progressed to the second round of the Chennai Open qualifying event even as all other Indians bowed out in Chennai on Saturday.
Ramkumar got past against compatriot and wild card Sumit Nagal 6-2 6-0 while Sanam toyed with another wild card Ajai Selvaraj 6-0 6-0.
Mohit Mayur, Saketh Myneni, Sriram Balaji, Sasikumar Mukund and Vijay Sundar Prasanth however made an exit.