India’s top-ranked singles player, Prajnesh Gunneswaran will begin his 2020 Tata Open Maharashtra campaign against Yannick Maden of Germany, it was revealed at the official draw ceremony on Saturday.
The Indian, who was handed a direct entry into the main draw following a series of pull-outs, comes into the ATP 250 event on the back of decent run Down Under.
While Prajnesh Gunneswaran began his season at the Canberra ATP Challenger, an event which was later moved to Bendigo due to the bushfires in Australia, with a second-round finish, he later went on to make the main draw at the Australian Open.
The 30-year-old will be expected to be on top of his game when he lines up against the German Yannick Maden at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
Ranked 125th in the world, Yannick Maden also featured at the ATP Challenger event in Bendigo but like his opponent, couldn’t go past the second round.
The 30-year-old German, who turned pro in 2013, has endured a difficult run on the tour ever since, finding it difficult to feature in major competitions in the past year. And with his recent form suggesting a similar trend, Prajnesh Gunneswaran will be eager to make the most of the opportunity in Pune.
Meanwhile, local boy Arjun Khade will take on the former Davis Cup champion Jiri Vesely of Czech Republic. Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sasikumar Mukund will face Italy’s Salvatore Caruso and the American-born Japanese Taro Daniel while Sumit Nagal will take on a qualifier in their opening round matches at the Tata Open Maharashtra.
Leander Paes in action
In the doubles half, one of India’s most decorated tennis stars, Leander Paes will begin his run at the Tata Open Maharashtra alongside Australian partner Matthew Ebden with a first-round match against fellow Indian Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak of New Zealand.
The Indian legend, who will be hanging up his racquet at the end of the season, began his 2020 with a second-round exit in the mixed doubles at the Australian Open.
Meanwhile the Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak duo too were in for a topsy-turvy run which saw them play the ATP events in Doha and Auckland before bowing out of the Australian Open.
Indian interest in the doubles half will also include Rohan Bopanna, who will be seen pairing up with Arjun Khade at the Tata Open Maharashtra. The Indian duo will take on the French combination of Antoine Hoang and Benoit Paire.
Saketh Myneni bows out
On the courts at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, India’s Saketh Myneni failed to get past the first hurdle at the Tata Open Maharashtra as he lost to Nikola Milojevic of Serbia in the opening round of the qualifiers on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Indian barely looked in rhythm as he failed to negotiate the match that lasted for just under the hour’s mark, losing the tie 3-6, 2-6.