Paire, Robredo set for Tata Open Maharashtra Qualifiers

Paire, 2015 ATP Comeback Player of the Year, will be joined by Spanish world no. 164, seasoned pro Tommy Robredo, in the race to grab the spots in the main draw of the event from January 1.

Frenchman Benoit Paire, the world no. 41, is the star attraction in the qualifying rounds of the first Tata Open Maharashtra.   -  R. RAGU

 

Frenchman Benoit Paire, the world no. 41, is the star attraction in the qualifying rounds of the first Tata Open Maharashtra, to be held here on December 30 and 31, from which four players would book berths in the main draw of the ATP World Tour 250 Series commencing on January 1.

Paire, 2015 ATP Comeback Player of the Year, will be joined by Spanish world no. 164, seasoned pro Tommy Robredo, in the race to grab the spots in the main draw of the event to be held at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium.

The event is being hosted by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) in association with the government of Maharashtra.

Read: Cilic, Anderson to headline inaugural Maharashtra Open

Some others in the fray are world No. 110 Marco Cecchinato of Italy, who lost his qualifying match to India’s Yuki Bhambri last year, world no. 127 Adrian Menendez- Maceiras, world no. 186 Carlos Taberner and world no. 199 Ricardo Ojeda Lara.

The qualifying draw list also includes India’s Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran, world no. 118 Ruben Bemelmans from Belgium, world no. 124 Thiago Monteiro from Brazil and world no. 149 Egor Gerasimov from Bulgaria, it was announced on Wednesday.

Paire has made five appearances in the Indian ATP event, formerly held in Chennai. The Frenchman reached the semi-final of this event thrice — in 2017, 2016 and 2012.

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Paire earned his career’s biggest win this year when he beat world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka in ATP Masters 1000 Madrid in the second round.

Spaniard Robredo will be coming back to India after a 14-year gap. In 2004, he lost a nail-biting semi-final to Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand while in 2002 he lost in the last-four match to Russian Andrei Stoliarov.

Robredo, who withdrew from last season’s event due to an injury, had won the Chennai Open doubles title alongside his Spanish compatriot and multiple-time Grand Slam singles champion Rafael Nadal in 2004.

Nagal comes after a victorious campaign at the ATP Bengaluru Open where he lifted his maiden Challenger level title with a win over Briton Jay Clarke last month.

The 20-year-old Nagal also toppled India’s Davis Cup singles campaigner Yuki Bhambri and other international established players such as Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic to rise to his career-best ranking of 223.

Gunneswaran approaches the qualifying round of this event for the fourth time at the back of three ITF tournament wins; China F10 in Kunshan, India F6 in Trivandrum and India F4 in Bhilai this year.

The left-handed player from Chennai will look to continue his pursuit for a spot in the main draw that has eluded him in his three attempts.

“With the likes of Paire and Robredo, this year’s qualifying round line-up adds to the excitement of the event.

India’s representation also looks strong with Gunneswaran and Nagal all in good form in recent past,” said tournament director Prashant Sutar.