Billed as the title favourite, French Open finalist Robin Soderling has a tough field awaiting him in the USD 400,000 ATP Chennai Open tennis tournament commencing here on Monday.
Top seed Soderling, eighth in the ATP ranking, will take heart from his recent victory over world number one Roger Federer when he starts his campaign in the event by taking on Robby Ginepri of the United States.
The 25-year-old stunned Federer in an exhibition tournament at Abu Dhabi, before losing the final to Rafael Nadal on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Indians, including country’s number one singles player Somdev Devvarman will also have to overcome stiff competition.
Somdev, ranked 127, plays Rainer Schuettler of Germany, while compatriot Rohan Bopanna locks horns with third seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, who is ranked 21.
The Indian wild card, however, was looking to capitalise on the home support before the tough encounter.
“It will surely be a tough match and I am counting on the home support,” Bopanna said.
Vijay Amritraj praised Somdev but at the same time reminded that his campaign opener would not be an easy.
“If Schuettler brings his hundred per cent on court, it will turn out to be a good match,” Amritraj said.
Marin Cilic, who beat world number two Andy Murray in US Open pre-quarterfinal last year, is pitted against Russian Igor Kunistyn in the first round, while Tipsarevic plays two time champion Carlos Moya of Spain, a wild card entrant.
In the doubles main draw, Indian interest revolves around the pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Bopanna, besides wild cards Somdev-Sanam Singh and Yuki Bhambri-Moya.
Third seeded Bhupathi-Bopanna, drawn in the bottom half, face the American pair of James Cerretani and Travis Rettenmaier, while Somdev and Sanam take on Rik de Voest (South Africa) and Scott Lipsky (USA).
Bhambri and Moya are drawn against Robby Ginepri (USA) and Dudi Sela (Israel).