The only two Indians in the singles main draw, Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri, both wildcards, face tough first opponents in the $430,000 ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament that commences here Monday.
In the draw released here Saturday, the 27-year old Devvarman, a finalist in 2009, and ranked 663, goes up against World No.106 Czech Jan Hajek while 20-year-old Bhambri, the highest ranked Indian in singles at 217, faces sixth seed Robin Haase of the Netherlands who is currently at 56.
As luck would have it, Devvarman, who had achieved a career-high ranking of 62 in July last year, but has since been plagued by injuries, runs into top seed Tomas Berdych, the World No.6, who has received a bye into the second round.
Also to receive a bye are last year’s finalist Janko Tipsarevic (2), two-time champion Marin Cilic (3) and Stanislas Wawrinka (4). Serbian Tipsarevic is ranked No.9 while Croatia’s Cilic is the next highest at No.15, followed by Swiss Wawrinka (17).
The men’s doubles that features three Indians, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, besides two wildcard tandems of Sriram Balaji-Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sanam Singh-Vishnu Vardhan.
Bhupathi is partnering Canada’s Daniel Nestor and have received top billing while Paes and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin are the second seeds.
Bopanna has joined hands with American Rajeev Ram and they are seeded third ahead of British pairing of Jamie Delgado and Ken Skupski.