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    Default Tough draws for Somdev, Bopanna

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    India's rising star Somdev Dev Verman would have to perform an encore of his Davis Cup battle against South Africa if he is to get past his first round opponent Rainer Schuettler in the singles event of the ATP World Tour Aircel Chennai Open 2010 beginning here on January 4.

    Somdev, who catapulted himsllf to limelight in the singles draw last year with a sensational run to become the first Indian to have figured in the final, was drawn against the German star, who in his six appearances at the Chennai Open, has entered the final once.

    In fact, the onus would be more on Schuettler, ranked 65 on the ATP world tour, to put it across the 126th ranked Somdev, training in the US under Scott Mccain, who had coached the likes of Andy Roddik.

    Last year, Somdev had a lucky entry into the final with Schuettler pulling out due to an injury.

    ''I hope it would be a good start for me, putting it across Schuettler,'' Somdev, who was present at the draw ceremony, presided over by ATP Tour supervisor Mark Darsby, who was last here in 1997, said.

    Somdev said nevertheless, he would be looking forward to the ''rematch'', adding he would try hard and keep it going this year too, in his quest to figure within the top 100 rankers.

    Last year's champion, Croat, Marin Cilic, who had downed Somdev easily to pick up the title, has a relatively easy outing. He was drawn against Russian Igor Kunitsyn, ranked 104. Second seed Cilic is ranked no 14, top seed Robin Soderling of Sweden, ranked world no 8 and the star in this year's edition was drawn to play Robby Ginepri, ranked no 100 in the world.

    ''No match is easy coming off at the beginning of the season,'' Cilic said. ''Iam hoping to do well again and get good ATP points, besides playing good tennis, hopefully,'' the big serving Croat said about his first match of the new season.

    ''Coming back from a layoff, every player would be trying hard,'' he added.

    The other Indian wild card in the main draw with Somdev, Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna given the entry alongside his teammate again, will also be playing a tough first round, against third seed Stanislas Wawrinka, ranked no 21.

    ''It's a tough round. But I always love to play in Chennai.

    Hopefully with some good home support I'll get through the first round,'' the Karnataka player opined.

    The other first round star would be Amercian player of Indian origin Rajiv Ram who was the doubles champion here last year. Rajiv said, ''I will take one match at a time,'' about his first outing against Netherlands player Thiemo De Bakker.

    Meanwhile, there was some disappointing news for Indian fans with Leander Paes, who rose to the world stage as a great doubles player with Mahesh Bhupati before the two split, at the Chennai Open winning three titles in a row, not participating this year.

    However, Bhupati will be seen on home soil again, the organisers said.


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