Indian Davis Cuppers Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran, both ranked between 120 and 150, are the lone Indian men to be seeded in this year’s USD 50,000 KPIT Men’s Challenger Tennis to be held in Pune from November 17-24.
Ramkumar has an ATP ranking of 121 and Prajnesh 142, but the tournament will not see defending champion and two-time winner Yuki Bhambri in action as he has pulled out citing an injury.
“Yuki Bhambri (winner in 2015 and 2017) has sent a message that he’s withdrawing because he is injured. It’s a big loss for him,” said Sunder Iyer, secretary of the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association, which is organising the tournament, at a media conference here on Thursday.
In his absence Ramkumar, who lost to Bhambri in last year’s final, and Prajnesh, runner up to Sadio Doumbia of France in 2016, would lead the home country’s challenge.
These two are the lone Indians in the direct list of entries (cut off at ATP rank 280) who will be joined by four wild cards (to be decided by MSLTA and All India Tennis Association), four qualifiers and two special exempts.
The qualifying rounds are to take place on the first two days followed by the men’s singles main draw of 32 starting on November 19.
Moldavian Radu Albot, the lone top 100 player in the list of direct entrants with an ATP ranking of 86, will be the top seed in singles main draw.
“All our top doubles players, barring Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan, will be in the men’s doubles draw,” said Iyer.
The singles winner will take home USD 7,200 (Rs 5.25 lakh) and gain 80 ATP points while the runner-up will pocket USD 4,053 (Rs 2.95 lakh) and 55 ATP points.
The top 12 in the main draw (with their countries and ATP rankings in brackets): 1. Radu Albot (MDA, 86), 2. Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND, 121), 3. Elias Ymer (SWE, 132), 4. Marc Polmans (AUS, 137), 5. Prajnesh Gunneswaran (IND, 142); 6. Jay Clarke (GBR, 175), 7. Hirok Mariya (JPN, 187), 8. Andrej Martin (SVK, 189), 9. Duckhee Lee (KOR, 193), Brayden Shnur (CAN, 211), 11. James Ward (GBR, 213), Scott Griekspoor (NED, 221).