A total of 13 Indians will feature in the singles main draw of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger to be played at the SDAT tennis stadium on Monday. Three Indians got into the main draw after coming through the final qualifying round on Sunday. The singles main draw will see top-seed Jordan Thompson of Australia (ranked 103) take on Egypt's Karim-Mohamed Maamoun in round one.
India's top singles player, Yuki Bhambri, the second-seed will take on Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain in his opening match. The 112-ranked Bhambri, who qualified for the Australian Open, will be looking for some momentum ahead of the long season, which also includes a Davis Cup tie against China.
Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam, a little-known local player, Arjun Khade and Sidharth Rawat made it to the main draw, albeit in contrasting styles. Sanjeev Shanmugam qualified when his second-seeded rival Nikola Cacic of Serbia, gave a walkover owing to illness.
Khade defeated Switzerland's Luca Margaroli 7-5, 6-2 while Rawat advanced when compatriot Vishnu Vardhan conceded while trailing 4-1 in the decider. Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul of Thailand, the top-seed in qualifying, breezed past Haadin Bava 6-2, 6-2. He will meet India's N Sriram Balaji in the first round.
In an interesting opening round clash, Saketh Myneni, who is returning from injury, will take on qualifier Arjun Khade. Davis Cupper Prajnesh Gunneswaran, the eighth-seed, meets Pedro Martinez of Spain in round one while Sumit Nagal (No.5 seed) will encounter Frenchman Antoine Escoffier.
The $50,000 Challenger event offers Indian players a good opportunity to pick up valuable ATP points while Bhambri and Nagal will be aiming to go all the way as they attempt to rise in the rankings.
Seeded players: 1. Jordan Thompson, 2. Yuki Bhambri, 3. Duckhee Lee (Korea), 4. Mohammed Safwat (Egypt), 5. Sumit Nagal (Ind), 6. Yasutaka Uchiyama (Japan), 7, Enrique Lopez Perez (Spain), 8. Prajnesh Gunneswaran.
Results: Final qualifying round (Indian unless stated): Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul (X1) bt Haadin Bava 6-2, 6-2; Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam w/o Nikola Cacic (Serbia-X2); Arjun Khade bt Luca Margaroli (Sui) 7-5, 6-2; Sidharth Rawat (5) bt Vishnu Vardhan 6-7, 6-3, 4-1 (retired).