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Chennai Open 2017: Indian players face tricky opponents in qualifiers

Yuki Bhambri, Sasi Kumar Mukund and Prajnesh Gunneswaran will play the Chennai Open qualifiers on Saturday.

By: PTI | Chennai | Published: December 30, 2016 11:45:50 pm

India’s Yuki Bhambri and Sasi Kumar Mukund will face tricky opponents when the Aircel Chennai Open begins with the qualifying rounds in Chennai on Saturday.

Yuki found himself pitted against Italy’s Marco Cecchinato while Mukund against Argentina’s Nicolas Kicker when lots were drawn for the qualifiers on Friday.

The two young Indian stars, who have been given wild cards, know that it won’t be a smooth ride as Cecchinato and Kicker have been hovering close to the top-100 mark for some time now.

Yuki is also returning from injury and will be careful not to make the same mistake that he did last year, attempting a return when he hadn’t fully recovered. He has been training in Thailand and even participated in a warmup tournament in Hong Kong to be match ready.

India has a third entry in the form of Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who faces off with Japan’s Hiroki Moriya. Prajnesh will fancy his chances as the Japanese came close to his highest ranking, No. 143, only in January 2015. Moreover, he is high on confidence after enjoying a good year.

“I have worked with Som (Arjuna Awardee and Asian Games medallist Somdev Devvarman) for a couple of weeks now. And that has helped me a lot,” Prajnesh said, after a strenuous session at the SDAT Stadium in Chennai.

“I still train in Germany but this stint is proving to be quite useful,” he added.

Pragnesh revealed that the two of them are working only on general stuff.

“Som has played at the top level and he know what it takes to be there. Tactically he is very good and he understand my game as well, so it has been most helpful. What is like most is how focused he is. He brings in a lot of intensity even to the practice session,” he said.

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