Myneni, Devvarman top Indian seeds at ATP Challenger

Third seed Myneni will look to add to his kitty after he gave himself a nice birthday present when he won a similar tournament in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday and the 90 ATP points after seeing off the challenge of Australian Jordan Thompson.

Saketh Myneni will be byuoyed by his successful campaign at the ATP Challenger in Ho Chinh Minh city.   -  S.Subramanium (File Photo)

Somdev Devvarman, who lost in the first round of the ATP Challenger at Ho Chinh Minh city, will be one of the favourites of the upcoming event.   -  PTI

A Spaniard, a Briton, two Indians, two Belgians, a Russian and one from Chinese Taipei make up for the top seeds who will be expected to make a serious play for the $7,200 and 80 ATP points winner’s takings when the $50,000 AirAsia Open main draw gets underway at the KSLTA stadium here from Monday.

The ATP Challenger event is returning to the city after a gap of 12 years and Indian interest would be centered around the fortunes of third seed Saketh Myneni and fourth seed Somdev Devvarman.

Myneni will look to add to his kitty after he gave himself a nice birthday present when he won a similar tournament in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday and the 90 ATP points after seeing off the challenge of Australian Jordan Thompson. Expect him to come into this tournament with loads of confidence.

The tough part though would be in keeping his focus and energy intact after the air dash back to the Karnataka State capital on the back of a hectic pro-circuit weeklong workload in the humid conditions in Vietnam. Myneni lost the doubles final in Ho Chi Minh City, exhausted after his hard work in the singles final.

Devvarman, meanwhile, will look to put behind the disappointment of crashing out in the opening round of the same tournament despite being seeded. And home turf – or hardcourt if you are that nitpicky – might just be the tonic for him to do that.

Drawn on opposite halves of the main draw, the two will clash only if they make the finals. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, having completely forgotten the top two seeds among the aforementioned overseas players – Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras and British Davis Cupper James Ward in their respective halves.

The duo too will be keen to make amends to their Challenger circuit fortunes considering they haven’t tasted success of late.

Menendez-Maceiras hasn’t won a singles Challenger event since 2007, though he did win a doubles title earlier this year to add to the doubles he won last October in Indore, the same place where Myneni last won a Challenger title on home soil.

Ward, meanwhile, will be keen to end a title-drought that extends back up to the Lexington event in 2013.

And waiting in the wings to queer the pitch – or court if you will – and keep the local flavour intact will be the likes of Vishnu Vardhan, N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth, Sanam Singh, and Sumit Nagal.

And in other news the vagaries of playing on the tour caught up with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan as he pulled out citing ill-health. Picking up the chips is lucky loser Lakshit Sood.

The top seeds: 1. Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, 2. James Ward, 3. Saketh Myneni, 4. Somdev Devvarman, 5. Yannick Mertens, 6. Ti Chen, 7. Alexander Kurdyavtsev, 8. Germain Gigounon.

The results: Qualifying: Final round: Sidarth Rawat bt Jayesh Pungliya 6-4, 6-0; Temur Ismailov (Uzb) bt Christopher Marquis 6-3, 7-6 (6); Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Lakshit Sood 6-4, 6-0; Petros Chrysochos (Cyp) bt Chandril Sood 7-6 (5), 6-3.