Chennai, Dec 30: Rafael Nadal got an easy draw at the Chennai Open 2008 with a first-round match against 124th-ranked Mathieu Moncourt of France, while defending champion Xavier Malisse of Belgium faces a tough opener against unpredictable Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
Second seed Baghdatis, who was among the first to arrive in the city for the tournament, faces Dutchman Robin Haase, who is ranked almost 100 places below him in the ATP rankings at 114.
Announcing the men’s singles main draw at the SDAT Tennis Stadium, tournament director Fernando Soler said, “This year’s edition features a fantastic field led by Nadal, Mikhail Youzhny, Carlos Moya and Baghdatis.”
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Local hope Prakash Amritraj, who received a wild card to the main draw, will face a qualifier in his opening match.
The other Indian who got a wild card is Vishnu Vardhan, who is ranked 944, and will be tested against a much stronger opponent in 97th-ranked Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.
Former Indian player Vijay Amritraj rated India’s chances in the tournament as tough.
“Vishnu, in particular, faces a real tough match in the first round against Vasselin. Both he and Prakash will have to play high-quality tennis.”
“It is a well spread out draw this time, with potential trouble for the seeds,” he said.
“An interesting player to watch out for is Youzhny. He is coming off a big year. Nicholas Mahut and Marin Cilic too have a good opportunity,” reckoned Amritraj.
The Chennai Open starts on December 31, 2007, with the singles and doubles final slated for January 6, 2008.