Chennai: India’s top singles player Somdev Dev Varman was on Saturday drawn to a play a qualifier while wild cards Yuki Bhambri and Jeeven Nedunchehziyan will have to fight it out with top-100 players, in their first rounds at the Aircel Chennai Open.
Ranked 195, Yuki found world No. 64 Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta as his first round rival. Jeevan (312) will cross swords with world No. 84 Czech Jiri Vessely in the $450,000 event, starting on Monday here.
Talking about the draw, Somdev said: “I do not know my rival but being qualifier, he should be a tough opponent since he is coming in to the main draw after winning some matches.”
Last year Somdev had entered the main draw as a wild card. He won his first round against Jan Hajek (Cze) but lost to top seed Tomas Berdych. Yuki was ousted in the first round by Robin Haase of the Netherlands.
Somdev, who made the final here in 2009 as a wildcard, said he is focused to stay healthy during the 2014 season in order to improve his ranking and play as many tournaments as possible. On the draw he said: “Yuki has a tough match ahead. The draw is tough and lot of good matches are there for sure during the whole week.”
Fourth seed and French world No. 26 Benoit Paire, who was also present at the draw ceremony, echoed that the field is very tight.
Meanwhile, the top four seeds in the tournament, starting from world No. 8 and Swiss top seed Stanislas Wawrinka, second seed Mihail Youzhny, who is winner of 2008 edition, third seed Fabio Fognini and fourth seed Benoit Paire have been granted byes into the second round.
In the doubles event, top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi have been drawn to play defending champions Paire and Wawrinka.
The second seeds Leander Paes and Italian Fabio Fognini will take on Croats Marin Draganja and Mae Pavic.