India's top singles player Yuki Bhambri got an easy season-opener against wildcard entrant Arjun Kadhe while tournament-favourite Marin Cilic and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut got first-round byes at the Tata Open Maharashtra. Bhambri, ranked 116 in the world, had reached the second round when the ATP 250 event was played in Chennai in January 2017.
Bhambri had ended the year strongly with a title win at the Pune Challenger and a semi-final finish at the season-ending Bengaluru Open while Kadhe re-joined the Pro circuit only this year after graduating from Oklahoma University and is ranked a lowly 608.
The 25-year-old Bhambri, who shocked Gael Monfils at the Citi Open, may run into the eighth seed and world number 81 Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the pre-quarterfinals.
For Ramkumar Ramanathan, another wild card Indian, was today drawn to meet Roberto Carballes Baena, ranked 106 in the world. If Ramkumar, who is ranked 148, manages to cross the first round hurdle will meet Cilic in the pre-quarterfinals.
Cilic, who ended runner-up to legendary Roger Federer at this year's Wimbledon, had suffered a shock second defeat to Slovakian Jozef Kovalik during the last edition in Chennai.
Spanish Bautista Agut, who won the title last year, will meet the winner of the first round clash between Giles Simon and Tennys Sandgren.
Second seed and world number 14 Kevin Anderson, the US Open finalist this year, has also got a bye.
(With PTI Inputs)