indo-asian news service
Chennai, 29 December
If the season gone by is any guide, then World No.8 and top seed Stanislas Wawrinka should rightfully begin as the odds-on favourite for the singles tennis title at the 2014 Aircel Chennai Open starting here Monday.
However, for the home crowd, the attention would be on the trio of Somdev Devvarman, a direct entry, and Wild Cards Yuki Bhambri and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. It should be a cause for celebrations should any Indian even make it to the quarterfinals as all have tough draws. The 28-year old Devvarman, ranked No.90 and a semi-finalist here in 2009, is slated to meet a qualifier in the first round, and a possible clash with Spaniard Marcel Granollers, World No.38, in the second.
Should the Indian Davis Cup star come through, then he is likely to go up against fourth seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire, World No.26.
Bhambri, the 21-year old from Delhi, goes up against Spain&’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Nedunchezhiyan has an uphill task to get past 20-year old Czech Jiri Vesely, the youngest to break into top-100 in 2013.
As for the 28-year old Wawrinka, possibly at the peak of his career, he will be hoping to move up the rankings, something he believes is within his ability. However, the Swiss ace should be wary of dangerous floaters in the draw, notably Aljaz Bedene from Sloveni. The other top contender for the singles crown is World No.15 Mikhail Youzhny from Russia who is seeded second. Among others entertaining realistic hopes of success is Italy&’s Fabio Fognini. World No. 26 Paire will be another player to watch.  In the doubles action, Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Qureshi, the top seeded Indo-Pakistan combination, have the ability to go all the way but first up for the duo is last year&’s winners — Wawrinka and Paire.
Placed in the bottom half and seeded second is Leander Paes, winner of six doubles titles here with different partners. Meanwhile, Ramkumar Ramanathan kept his chances of making the main draw alive defeating Mikhail Elgin of Russia 6-3, 7-5 in the qualifying rounds here. The other Indian in the fray, Sanam Singh, however, went down 5-7, 5-7 to Frederik Nielsen of
Denmark.