Tough opener for Somdev

Chennai: India's singles challengers at the Chennai Open, on Saturday, drew tough first round opponents as Yuki Bhambri was pitted against world No. 56 Dutch Robin Haase, while comeback man Somdev Dev Varman will open his campaign against Czech Jann Hajek, ranked 106.

Both Yuki, ranked 217, and Somdev (663) have been granted wild card entries into the ATP tournament.

Somdev, who rose to as high as 63 in the singles ranking in 2011, had reached the singles final here in 2009 but a shoulder injury, which needed surgery to heal, put a brake on his progress. Yuki 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.

In the 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) clashes with Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei and Go Soeda of Japan. Wildcard Sanam Singh along with Vishnu Vardhan will play Wawrinka and his Benoit Paire.

(PTI)