Four top players to contest in Chennai Open

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Chennai, Nov 26: Firm crowd favourite Paradorn Srichaphan will not be there for them to cheer again, but there is enough recompense for the ardent tennis fan in this cradle of Indian tennis with four players in the top 20 led by world no 1 Spaniard- three time French Open champion Rafael Nadal and no 16 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus spearheading the main draw of 32 for the ATP world tour Chennai Open2008 to be held here from December 31 to January 6.

With the three wild cards and four qualifiers to be announced in the run up to the championship, offering an increased prize money of US $ 436000, the organisers represented by IMG India Managing Director Balu Nayar, Vice President AITA N Kumar and Tamil Nadu Tennis Association(TNTA) President V Narayanan said the impressive line up will also have two time champion here and former French Open winner Carlos Moya, now ranked 17 and Russian Mikhail Youzhny, ranked 19.

The Russian will be in Chennai for the first time hoping to take off again after being sidelined in the tour by injury.

The singles and doubles titles winner in the Chennai Open last year Belgian Xavier Malisse though ranked 109 will be the thorn in the big stars' path, hoping to get off in the new season with a title win here.

''This is the 13th year and no 13 is deemed unlucky. But for Chennai Open it's going to be a great year by way of the best field on view so far'', Mr Balu Nayar and Mr Kumar averred.

Mr Nayar said world no 45 Nicholas Mahut leading the seven player field of French talents, world no 60 Jurgen Meizer and world no 65 Warner Exhauer of Austria, world no 70 Marc Giquel (France) and world no 71 Marin Ciic of Croatia would be the other well known players in the main draw. There would be as many as 15 players in the top 100. Another Russian ranked No 119 Yuri Schukin will represent the low ranking cut off in the tournment like last year, Mr Nayar said, answering a question.

The following is the field for singles main draw- 4 qualifiers yet to be identified, three wild cards to be announced later: Rafael Nadal (Spain), Marcos Baghdatis(Cypris), Carlos Moya (Spain) Mikhail Youzhny(Russia), Xavier Malisse(Belgium), Nicolas Mahut (France), Yurgen Meizer(Austria), Werner Eschauer(Germany), Marc Gicquel(France), Marin Cilic(Croatia), Guillermo Garcia Lopez(Spain), Florent Serra(France), Edouard Roger Vassein(France), Kirstof Vliegen (Belgium), Jiri Vanek(Czechoslovakia), Paul Capdeville(Chile), Olivier Patience(France), Robin Haase(Netherlands), Ian Navarro(Spain), Gilles Muller(Spain), Mathieu Montcourt(France), Denis Gremeimayr(Germany) and Yuri Schukin(Russia).

However, tennis fans will be disappointed with neither Leander Paes nor Mahesh Bhupati, who had burst into the ATP tour as champion doubles stars in this championship, figurring in the field either in the singles field.

UNI

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