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India’s hopes rest on Dev Varman

Chennai: Somdev Dev Varman would be India’s best bet while Yuki Bhambri is expected to carry on his good form into the new season as the ATP Chennai Open gets underway, here, on Monday.

India have three players in the singles main draw, which has world No. 8 and 2011 champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland as the top seed apart from 2008 champion and second seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Wawrinka is coming into the season-opener on the back of his best career season and the Swiss will be the player to watch.

Wild card Yuki will open his campaign against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, while second wild card Jeevan Nedunchezhian’s opener is against Jiri Vessely of Czech Republic. It is crucial that Yuki makes full use of this opportunity as a good performance here would earn him good number of points, which will help him improve his ranking.

The top four seeds in the tournament, Wawrinka, Youzhny, third seed Italian Fabio Fognini and fourth seed Frenchman Benoit Paire have been granted byes into the second round. Withdrawal of defending champion Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia has taken some of the sheen away from India’s only ATP event.

India’s best chances would be in the doubles, which features a lot of home players, including veteran Leander Paes.

Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi are the top seeds. They are drawn to take on the defending champions Benoit Paire and Stanislas Wawrinka in their first round match.

Paes has paired with Italian Fognini and are the second seeds. Apart from Paes and Bopanna, the doubles field has five more Indians.

Meanwhile on Sunday, local lad Ramkumar Ramanathan moved to the final round of the Chennai Open qualifiers, scoring a straight set win over Russia’s Mikhail Elgin in the second round. In another match, Sanam Singh, ranked 391, had a poor outing as he crashed out.