Chennai Open: Second seed Agut headlines day's fixtures

With top seed Marin Cilic making an early exit after the fall of 2016 finalist Borna Coric on the first day, all eyes will be on second seed and 2014 finalist Roberto Bautista Agut when he takes on Rogerio Dutra Silva in his first match here in Chennai on Thursday.

Roberto Bautista Agut got a first-round bye.   -  R. Ragu

It’s been a week of upsets so far at the Chennai Open. With top seed Marin Cilic making an early exit after the >fall of 2016 finalist Borna Coric on the first day, all eyes will be on second seed and 2014 finalist Roberto Bautista Agut when he takes on Rogerio Dutra Silva in his first match here in Chennai.

Brazilian Dutra Silva had defeated Dusan Lajovic in the opening round even as Spaniard Agut got a first round bye. Rustiness, which has been the reason for downfall of many top seeds in the first tournament of the year, will be something Bautista Agut will be wary of.

The two previously played each other during a Davis Cup World Group Playoff tie in 2014, with the Spaniard triumphing in three sets over the Brazilian. The most exciting match of the day, at least for the fans on Thursday, will be the clash between Yuki Bhambri and Frenchman Benoit Paire.

After a ruthless demolition of Ramkumar Ramanathan in the opening round, Yuki Bhambri faces his first real test in the main draw as he takes on a top 50 player in Benoit Paire. The showy Frenchman is ranked No. 47 in the world while the 24-year-old Indian is ranked a lowly 474, a six-month absence from the Tour due to an elbow injury resulting in the big slide for erstwhile No. 1 ranked Indian.

Spotlight on Indian pairs in quarters

The doubles quarterfinals will feature two Indian teams in Rohan Bopanna-Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Divij Sharan-Purav Raja, on Thursday. Bopanna-Nedunchezhiyan will take on the pair of James Cerretani (USA) and Philipp Oswald (Austria) in the last Centre Court match of the day. The Indian duo defeated Marcelo Demoliner (BRA)/Nikola Milojevia (CRO) 6-4, 6-4 in the first round on Wednesday.

Divij-Purav, who ousted Leander Paes and Andre Sa the previous day, will take on Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Renzo Olivo of Argentina in the other doubles quarterfinal of the day.

The most evenly contest in the singles is likely to be the match between 2015 finalist Aljaz Bedene and fourth seed Martin Klizan. With Brit Bedene looking in good nick after his first-round victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the Russian will have his task cut out in what will be his first match of the tournament.

Order of play

Centre court (5 p.m. start): Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) vs Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP); Benoit Paire (FRA) vs Yuki Bhambri; James Cerretani (USA) & Philipp Oswald (AUT) v Rohan Bopanna & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan;

Court 1 (5 p.m. start): Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs Renzo Olivo (ARG); Aljaz Bedene (GBR) vs Martin Klizan (SVK); Jurgen Melzer (AUT) & Renzo Olivo (ARG) vs Purav Raja & Divij Sharan;

Court 2 (Not Before 8:00 pm): Nicholas Monroe (USA) & Artem Sitak (NZL) vs Steve Darcis (BEL) & Benoit Paire (FRA).