The ONGC GAIL Delhi Open $100,000 ATP Challenger tennis tournament begins at the DLTA Complex on Monday with six Indian players in the main draw of 32. In fact, Prajnesh Gunneswaran can raise the count if he overcomes Great Britain’s Daniel Cox in the final qualifying round.
On the opening day, three main draw singles matches will follow the four qualifying contests. Sanam Singh opens his campaign against eighth seed Illya Marchenko of Ukraine on the centre court. Third seed Peter Gojowczyk will also be seen in action against Egyptian Mohamed Safwat.
India’s highest ranked players Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri will play their first-round matches only on Tuesday. While Devvarman meets wildcard Karunuday Singh, the latter is slated to play Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
However, Bhambri will feature on the DLTA courts on Monday as he will team up with New Zealand’s Michael Venus for a first-round doubles fixture against the South African pair of Ruan Roelofse and Izak van der Merwe. The Indo-Kiwi duo is seeded third.
On Sunday, Prajnesh caused a major surprise as he bested Jordi Samper-Montana 7-6(3), 6-3 in the second qualifying round. Prajnesh is ranked almost 250 spots below the Spaniard.
Though Prajnesh lacked a forceful serve, he made up for the deficiency by hitting powerful and deep ground-strokes that unsettled Samper-Montana. In fact, the constant duress led to regular outbursts from the Spaniard that only harmed his cause.
Vishnu Vardhan could have joined Prajnesh in the final qualifying round but threw away a fine start to lose in three sets to Portugal’s Rui Machado.
Qualifiers: Second round: Richard Becker (Ger) bt Matt Reid (Aus) 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4; Ti Chen (Tpe) bt Tristan-Samuel Weissborn (Aut) 6-4, 6-4; Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Jordi Samper-Montana (Esp) 7-6(3), 6-3; Daniel Cox (Gbr) bt Mathias Bourgue (Fra) 6-0, 6-4; Axel Michon (Fra) bt Vijayant Malik 6-0, 6-2; Kevin Krawietz (Ger) bt Joshua Milton (Gbr) 6-4, 7-6(1); Rui Machado (Por) bt Vishnu Vardhan 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2; Liang-Chi Huang (Tpe) bt Tyler Hochwalt (USA) 6-2 retd. First round: Matt Reid bt Lucas Renard (Swe) 6-0, 6-4; Richard Becker bt Antal van der Duim (Ned) 6-4, 6-4; Tristan-Samuel Weissborn bt Kaza Vinayak 6-1, 7-5; Ti Chen bt V.M. Ranjeet 6-4, 6-3; Jordi Samper-Montana bt Garvit Batra 6-2, 6-2; Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt N. Sriram Balaji 2-6, 6-1, 6-3; Mathias Bourgue bt Ruan Roelofse (RSA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Daniel Cox bt Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 7-6(4), 6-1; Axel Michon bt Artem Sitak (Nzl) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Vijayant Malik bt Kunal Anand 6-3, 6-1; Joshua Milton bt Vijay Sundar Prashanth 6-2, 6-3; Kevin Krawietz bt Theodoros Angelinos (Gre) 2-6, 7-6(10), 6-4; Rui Machado bt Venkat Iyer 6-2, 6-1; Vishnu Vardhan bt Lakshit Sood 6-4, 2-6, 6-1; Tyler Hochwalt bt Jatin Dahiya 6-2, 6-2; Liang-Chi Huang bt Michael Venus (Nzl) 7-6(7), 6-1.