Tata Open Maharashtra: Benoit Paire leads charge, Paes gets wild card in doubles

The 16-team doubles event will see two all-Indian pairs, but defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be playing with different partners.

Benoit Paire reacts during his singles match against Marin Cilic at Australian Open.   -  Getty Images

Benoit Paire sits atop what seems the lighter of the halves after the draw ceremony of the Tata Open Maharashtra here on Saturday. The world No. 21, who is making his eighth tournament appearance and is a two-time semifinalist (2017 & 2018), has the rising South Korean and tournament’s fourth seed Soonwoo Kwon (No. 87) for company.

The presence of two qualifiers in Paire’s quarter will make it interesting, for the qualifying draw boasts of names such as Serbian Viktor Troicki and Czech Lukas Rosol. Also in this set of eight is Indian wild card Sasi Kumar Mukund, who will open against Japan’s Taro Daniel. The highest-ranked Indian, Prajnesh Gunneswaran (No. 123), is also in the top half, and will meet Kwon if he can get past Germany’s Yannick Maden.

ITF Thailand: Ankita Raina in singles final, wins doubles title

Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis (No. 69) headlines the bottom half and is likely to clash with 2019 finalist Ivo Karlovic (No. 124). Sumit Nagal (No. 131) meets a qualifier and if he gets through, will face either Thomas Fabbiano or Yuichi Sugita.

World No. 74 Stefano Travaglia is seeded fourth and it is in the Italian’s quarter that two other Indian wild cards, Ramkumar Ramananthan and Arjun Kadhe, find themselves in. The home duo can meet each other in the second round, but have to first tackle seventh seeded Italian Salvatore Caruso and the seasoned Czech Jiri Vesely respectively.

This being a field of 28, Paire, Kwon, Travaglia and Berankis all received byes into the second round.

The 16-team doubles event will see two all-Indian pairs, but defending champions Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan will be playing with different partners. While Rohan has teamed up with Kadhe, Divij is the tournament’s second seed alongside Kiwi Artem Sitak and will take on the Leander Paes-Matthew Ebden combine which was handed a wild card on Saturday.

Meanwhile the lone Indian in qualifying, Saketh Myneni was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Serb Nikola Milojevic.

Qualifying results (first round): Matthew Ebden (Aus) bt Zhizhen Zhang (Chn) 6-3, 6-2; Blaz Rola (Slo) bt Malek Jaziri (Tun) 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (2); Roberto Marcora (Ita) bt Filippo Baldi (Ita) 6-3, 6-2; Robin Haase (Ned) bt Frederico Ferreira Silva (Por) 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4; Evgeny Karlovskiy (Rus) bt Aslan Karatsev (Rus) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Lukas Rosol (Cze) bt Ernests Gulbis (Lat) 6-4, 6-4; Viktor Troicki (Srb) bt Nicola Kuhn (Esp) 6-1, 6-4; Nikola Milojevic (Srb) bt Saketh Myneni (Ind) 6-3, 6-2.

  Dugout videos