Tata Open Maharashtra: Pune Set for Tennis Extravaganza

Saketh Myneni
Saketh Myneni will be up against fifth seeded Benoit Paire of France in the first round of the main draw. Photo Courtesy: Tata Open

The second edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra — will begin later today and conclude on January 5, 2019 — with India’s top singles player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran taking on his academy-mate, Michael Mmoh (US) in the opening match At the Centre Court.

Women’ World No. 4 badminton player Carolina Marin and Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu will play an exhibition game followed by an opening ceremony where Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will inaugurate the tournament.

Tata Open Maharashtra is part of the ATP World Tour 250 series and it is also South Asia’s only ATP World Tour level tennis event. It will be played at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune, and will see big names like World No. 6 Kevin Anderson, World No. 30 and the defending champion, Gilles Simon and World No. 25 Hyeon Chung battle it out for the crown at this pre-season event. The tournament was hit by a shock when Maric Cilic pulled out of the tournament. The 30-year-old posted on Instagram where he cited his knee injury as the reason for the pullout.

Seeding And Wild Card Entries

The organisers of the Tata Open Maharashtra dished out a total of 8 seeds for this edition. They awarded the first seed to Kevin Anderson from South Africa. Hyeon Chung from Korea has been seeded second while Gilles Simon has been given the third seed. Malek Jaziri from Tunisia has been seeded fourth, while Benoit Paire has been seeded fifth. Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena has been awarded the sixth seed and Jaume Munar and Pablo Andujar were given seventh and eight respectively.

Prajnesh Gunneswaran was handed a wild card entry into the main draw alongside Ramkumar Ramanathan. SK Mukund and Saketh Myneni were handed wild card entries to the qualifiers, where Mukund crashed out in the first round itself. Saketh Myneni, however, managed to qualify for the main draw after emerging victorious in a hard-fought battle against Egor Gerasimov in the second round of the qualifiers. He will now play Benoit Paire in the round of 32. Local boy Arjun Kadhe was also awarded a wild card entry to the main draw.

Main Draw: Anderson And Gilles Drawn In The Same Half

The official draw ceremony sprung up a huge surprise when Kevin Anderson and Gilles Simon ended up in the same half. Moreover, Denis Istomin, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open, is also drawn in the top half of the draw with Frenchman, Benoit Paire. On the other hand, Malek Jaziri and Hyeon Chung sit comfortably in the bottom half of the draw and will only meet in the semi-finals unless Tata Open Maharashtra witnesses another upset.

For Indians, the draw was fairly relieving. Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will play Michael Mmoh and Spaniard Marcel Granollers respectively in the first round matches of the bottom draw. Should they proceed to the next round, Gunneswaran will meet Roberto Carballes Baena and Ramanathan will face Malek Jaziri.

Strong Doubles Presence

The pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan has been awarded the first seed in the doubles category. While the two are upbeat about the alliance, they will shoulder the responsibility of repeating their feat in 2017, when Bopanna won the doubles title with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sharan finished second with Purav Raja. The pair of Tim Puetz and Philipp Oswald is seeded second, whereas Marcelo Arevalo and Jamie Cerretani have been handed the third seed. Brothers, Marcel and Gerard Granollers have been seeded fourth. Indian stalwart Leander Paes will pair up with Mexican Miguel Reyes-Varela. The other Indians pairs part of this draw are wild card entries. Purav Raja will pair up with Ramanathan and Arjun Kadhe will partner N. Sriram Balaji.

The winner of the singles event will take home a prize money of $90,900 and 250 ATP points and the champion pair will also win 250 ATP points alongside a sum of $28,860. With Cilic out of the picture, more eyes will be on Kevin Anderson and Gilles Simon and they will have high expectations to meet.

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Shivansh Gupta

Shivansh Gupta

Sports journalist working towards bringing unsung heroes of Indian sports into the limelight and helping them grab the attention and respect they deserve. A foodie and a sports fanatic since childhood, Shivansh would prefer watching an old match (from any sport) over a hit movie or series. Shivansh has spent his formative years in Tanzania before shifting to Pune for college
Shivansh Gupta

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