Amongst the three ATP 250 events this week, the event in Chennai, India looks the weakest with just six top 50 players taking part. The Aircel Chennai Open is in it’s 19th edition with 2011 winner Stanislas Wawrinka heading the field as top seed. Last years winner Janko Tipsarevic was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Wawrinka looks to have a fairly straight forward route to the semi finals with a German first up. He plays the winner of Benjamin Becker and Julian Reister, both of whom had the majority of their success on the Challenger circuit in 2013. Roberto Bautista-Agut and Aljaz Bedene both play qualifiers to round off the quarter. Bedene actually defeated Wawrinka at this event last year but it would be a shock to see a repeat. The potential qualifiers for Bedene and Bautista-Agut to face include Illya Marchenko and Frederik Nielsen.
Third seed Fabio Fognini showed major improvements in his game last year but as still been found wanting on hard courts. He posted a losing record in 2013 and will face either Pablo Carreno Busta or Yuki Bhambri in his opener. It will be the Spaniard’s first outdoor hard court match in a main draw as he looks to continue his form from 2013. Wildcard Bhambri was a first round loser to Robin Haase last year in Chennai but could pull of a shock win here.
A surprising recipient of a wildcard – young Brit Kyle Edmund will have his work cut out in only his fifth main draw match and the first not on grass. He is up against Vasek Pospisil who moved into the top 40 on the back of great results in the second half of the year. It will most likely be too early for Edmund to pull off the shock but should be a good experience nonetheless. The winner plays either Tim Smyczek or Yen Hsun-Lu. Lu usually fares well in Asia but was a first round loser in this event last time round.
Benoit Paire was a semi finalist last year and should repeat the trick should he avoid the walkabouts that had been common in his game. Second round potential opponent Oleksandr Nedovyesov is yet to win a main tour match and is more comfortable on clay anyway while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez went just 1-5 on hard in 2013. The highest ranked Indian Somdev Devvarman plays a qualifier while Marcel Granollers also plays one with the winners of the two clashes facing each other.
Mikhail Youzhny won here in 2008 and should be amongst those who go deep in the tournament as second seed. First up will be either Lukas Lacko or Dudi Sela. Sela leads Lacko 2-1 and also has a win over Youzhny, albeit indoors. The other seed in this section is Edouard Roger Vasselin who begins his year against Albert Ramos.
The final wildcard went to Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan who is ranked outside the top 300. In 2012 the Indian took Vasek Pospisil to two tiebreaks in Chennai qualifying although the Canadian has improved massively since then. Nedunchezhiyan plays Jiri Vesely who surprisingly failed to break through on the main tour. The Czech should however get his first ATP win at the eighth time of asking.
SF: Stanislas Wawrinka def. Vasek Pospisil
SF: Benoit Paire def. Mikhail Youzhny
F: Stanislas Wawrinka def. Benoit Paire