Chennai Open has cast spell over ardent tennis buffs

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Chennai, Dec 24 (UNI) With just a week remaining for the first ace to be hit, the star-studded field for the ATP World Tour 2006 Chennai Open Tennis Championship beginning here from December 31, seems to have cast a spell on ardent tennis buffs.

This was evident with all the season tickets being sold out after the counters at the venue SDATN Nungambakkam stadium opened a couple of days ago. By last afternoon, the tickets were sold out.

There are only very few daily tickets available and they will be on sale from December 31 when the main draw matches begin. The counters will open at 1000 hrs, according to a press release from the event manager IMG.

''I was lucky to have purchased the last set of season tickets,'' a tennis enthusiast said. Impressed with the strong field, the starry-eyed fan said ''this year the excitement is fever pitch and everyone is waiting to see some top class tennis action.'' The field is led by the king of clay-- World no 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain, 2006 Australian Open runner up World no 16 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, hot favourite and two time champion in this event,another Spaniard Carlos Moya and World no 19 Russian Mikhail Youzhny besides defending champion Xavier Malisse of Belgium.

Indian fans can also look forward to some good display from Prakash Amritraj, the son of Chennai-born Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj along with raw talent, the new grass court national champion Vishnuvardhan of Andhra Pradesh. Both have been given wild card entry into the main draw.

The curtains will formally raise with a charity show on December 30, of tennis memorabilia signed by the likes of Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova. The proceeds will be given away for charity.

UNI

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