Tata Open Maharashtra: Nagal, Ramanathan face a tough challenge in singles opener as third edition kicks off
Pune, February 3: The India No. 2 Sumit Nagal will be up for a stiff challenge as the much-awaited main draw at the third edition of Tata Open Maharashtra is all set to kick-off at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium here on Monday (February 3). The 22-year-old Indian sensation will start his campaign at home against former World No. 12 Viktor Troicki in the singles opening round match. Troicki has been in sensational form in the recent past. Partnering alongside Novak Djokovic, he led Serbia to ATP Cup triumph. Nagal, who took a set away against legendary Roger Federer in his Grand Slam debut match at 2019 US Open, made cut into the main draw with direct entry.
Another Indian will be seen in action tomorrow, Ramkumar Ramanathan who will face seventh seed Italian Salvatore Caruso. India No. 3 Ramanathan was earlier awarded a wild card into the main draw. “There first two days of the qualifiers saw some amazing games and now we all are geared for the main draw. This will be first time that all Indians players stand a chance to make a mark at a competitive level like this tournament and I wish our players all the best,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director. The Serbian star Troicki entered the main draw with an easy 6-2, 6-4 win over Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia in the final singles qualifying round match on Sunday.
The South Asia’s only ATP Tour tournament will see world’s top tennis stars, such as Benoit Paire and Ivo Karlovic, competing in the singles main draw while the doubles main draw will witness Indian great Leander Paes’ final glimpses at home. Paes, who has been awarded wild-card alongside his Australian partner Mathew Ebden, will be appearing in his final tournament in India. “This edition is special in more than one way, while we are celebrating 25 years of the tournament in India this will also be the last chance for Tennis Fans to watch Leander play live in Pune and India,” said Sunder Iyer, Secretary of Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA).
Meanwhile Serbia’s Nikola Milojevic, Italian Roberto Marcora and Czech player Lucas Rosol also made their way into the singles main draw with wins in their respective final round match in the qualifiers of India’s premier ATP 250 event, which is organised by MSLTA in association with Government of Maharashtra. While Milojevic thrashed Netherlands’ Robin Haase 6-3, 6-3, Marcora upset Slovenian Blaz Rola 6-4, 7-6 in a hard-fought clash. In the fourth match of the final qualifying round, Rosol managed 6-2, 7-5 win over Australian Mathew Ebden. While Nagal will play at 6.10 pm, Ramanathan will begin his challenge at 7.30 pm.