Radu Albot headlines Pune challenger

Defending champion, Yuki Bhambri, has withdrawn from the event as he is yet to recover from injury.

Radu Albot, who crashed out of the Bengaluru Open, will be the top-seed.   -  V Sreenivasa Murthy

Moldavian Radu Albot and Indian Davis Cup players Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran will headline the KPIT-MSLTA ATP Challenger, which begins at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Tennis Complex in Pune from Saturday.

In its fifth year, the $50000+hospitality event will also see most of India’s top doubles players featuring in the tournament. However, defending champion, Yuki Bhambri, has withdrawn from the event as he is yet to recover from injury.

Albot, who crashed out of the Bengaluru Open, will be the top-seed. The winner of event will get $7,200 and gain 80 ATP points, while the runners will get $4,053 and earn 55 ATP points. Apart from the main tournament, a wheel-chair tennis event will also be conducted, the organisers — Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association officials — said.

Sundar Iyer, the honorary secretary of MSLTA, said that the “cut-off this year is at a high of 280, which makes it a very strong Challenger at this level.”

With structural changes being introduced from next year, players will earn ATP points only from Challengers and that’s why, Iyer feels, the competition will be more hereon.

The qualification rounds will be held on Saturday and Sunday, followed by the main draw on Monday. The semifinals and the doubles final will be played on November 23, while the final will be held a day later.

A couple of Maharashtra players will also be given wild cards, as per the organisers.

The main draw list

Radu Albot (MDA 86), Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND 121), Elias Ymer (SWE 132), Marc Polmans (AUS 137), Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND 142), Jay Clarke (GBR 175), Hiroki Moriya (JPN 187), Andrej Martin (SVK 189), Dukchee Lee (KOR 193), Brayden Schnur (CAN 211), James Ward (GBR 213), Scott Griekspoor (NED 221).