Tough open­ers for Bham­bri, Somdev

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - BOOKS - — PTI

Chen­nai: In­dia’s sin­gles chal­lengers at the Chen­nai Open on Satur­day drew tough first round op­po­nents as Yuki Bham­bri was pit­ted against world num­ber 56 Dutch Robin Haase while come­back man Somdev Dev­var­man will open his cam­paign against Czech Jann Ha­jek, ranked 106.

Both Bham­bri, ranked 217, and Dev­var­man ( 663) have been granted wild card en­tries.

Dev­var­man, who rose to as high as 63 in the sin­gles rank­ing in 2011, had reached the sin­gles fi­nal in Chen­nai in 2009 but a shoul­der in­jury, which needed surgery to heal, put a brake on his progress. “I have trained hard and happy that I do not ex­pe­ri­ence any pain on my shoul­der and it is work­ing well. I am look­ing for­ward to stay­ing healthy in the whole new sea­son. I am play­ing Jann Ha­jek for the first time,” he said.

Bham­bri, who has had some de­cent re­sults last year, will also be play­ing his ri­val Robin Haase for the first time on ATP tour.

Mean­while, the top four seeds in the tour­na­ment, start­ing from world No 6 Thomas Berdych, Janko Tip­sare­vic ( 9) of Ser­bia, Croat Marin Cilic, twice win­ner of the ti­tle here, and world No 17 and de­fend­ing cham­pion Stanis­las Wawrinka have been granted byes into the sec­ond round.

Wawrinka said it would be tough to get into the groove in his first tour­na­ment af­ter the off- sea­son. “It’s al­ways tough af­ter not hav­ing prac­ticed for one or two months. But I’ve played really well here and in 2011, I played my best ten­nis,” he Wawrinka, who won the ti­tle here last year hav­ing ini­tially de­cid­ing to skip the event, said.

In dou­bles, de­fend­ing cham­pion Le­an­der Paes and his new part­ner E Roger- Vas­selin of France would be play­ing Rati­wan­tana brothers from Thai­land while Mahesh Bhu­pathi and Daniel Nestor of Canada will take on young In­dian pair of N Balaji and Jee­van Ne­dunchezhian of In­dia. Third seeded Ro­han Bopanna and Ra­jiv Ram ( USA) clash with Yen- Hsun Lu of Taipei and Go Soeda of Ja­pan. S Singh and Vish­nu­vard­han have been drawn against the duo of B Paire of France and S Wawrinka of Switzer­land.

Yuki Bham­bri of In­dia ( left) and Marin Cilic of Croa­tia un­veil the Chen­nai Open tro­phy on Satur­day

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