Pune, Dec. 24: World No. 24 Benoit Paire alongside last edition's runner-up Ivo Karlovic will be in quest for the title at the third edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra to be held in association with the Government of Maharashtra at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium here from February 3-9.
Former Wimbledon quarterfinalist with a career-high ATP singles ranking of 16, Philipp Kohlschreiber will make his debut at India's premier ATP 250 event which celebrates 25 years.
The 30-year-old maverick Paire, who has reached a career-high ranking of 18 in 2016 and won two ATP titles in 2018, will be crowd's favourite after having made it to the semi-finals in 2018. Paire has been in a sizzling form in 2019 season with winning titles at Lyon and Marrakech. The mercurial Frenchman will look to continue winnings momentum and try to translate his confidence into a title.
The 6 feet 11 inches tall Croatian Karlovic, who created a world record with Kevin Anderson playing the finals featuring the tallest players in the history of ATP Tennis at the last edition of this event in January, will take another shot at the title at South Asia's only ATP tournament after losing the summit clash in three tight tie-breaks.
ATP Tour's most versatile players, Kohlschreiber, who has eight ATP tour titles spread over three different surfaces, will be looking to light up the Balewadi Stadium on his debut in Pune. The former World No. 16 and currently ranked 79th German made fireworks at the Indian Wells Masters this year when he upset the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and will be hoping to bring that courage and confidence when he plays in India.
"This is a very special edition when we are celebrating 25 years of ATP Tour in India. The tournament has always had a rich legacy of champions playing here and the silver jubilee year will be no different as we hope to roll out yet another memorable edition of thrilling tennis action. The level of the event is high and we are happy with the way this event has grown over the last three editions," said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
With the ATP reshuffling calendar to accommodate the ATP Cup, which is happening for the first time, the upcoming edition of this tournament will now be held after the Australian Open.
He added: "We have a strong field for the third edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra, where 19 players from 12 different countries are direct acceptances into the main draw. While 2 players will come in as special exempts, three players will be awarded wildcards and four will come through as qualifiers."
"We have a highly competitive field and are all set for yet another year of high-quality action. The return of so many of the renowned names establish their faith in this tournament and it is a matter of pride for us to welcome them back as well as first-timers to Pune," said Sunder Iyer, Hon'ble Secretary of Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association.
Czech Republic's Jiri Vesely one of the few players on the Tour with a 1-0 win-record over Novak Djokovic in 2016 and an upset win over World No. 5 Alexander Zverev at Wimbledon this year would definitely be one to watch. With a stellar career in juniors that includes a World No. 1 ranking and the US Open title, Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis will be targeting his first ATP title in Pune as will Italy's Stefano Travaglia, Salvatore Caruso and Thomas Fabbiano.
The NextGen will be spearheaded by Korea's Soonwoo Kwon who qualified for the Wimbledon Championships and made it to the quarter-finals in Los Cabos. Poland's 23-year-old Kamil Majchrzak will get the perfect platform to showcase his talent as well. With ATP Tour winners, Paolo Lorenzi of Italy and Peter Gojowczyk of Germany adding depth to the field, Belarus's Egor Gerasimov and France's Antoine Hoang compose the rest of the 19-player direct acceptance list.
|1. Berankis Ricardas||LTU||66|
|2. Caruso, Salvatore||ITA||96|
|3. Daniel, Taro||JPN||110|
|4. Donskoy, Evgeny||RUS||112|
|5. Duckworth, James||AUS||100|
|6. Fabbiano, Thomas||ITA||114|
|7. Gerasimov, Egor||BLR||98|
|8. Gojowczyk, Peter||GER||117|
|9. Hoang, Antoine||FRA||116|
|10. Karlovic, Ivo||CRO||96|
|11. Kohlschreiber, Philipp||GER||79|
|12. Kwon, Soonwoo||KOR||88|
|13. Lorenzi, Paolo||ITA||115|
|14. Majchrzak, Kamil||POL||101|
|15. Paire, Benoit||FRA||24|
|16. Stebe, Cedrik-Marcel||GER||95|
|17. Sugita, Yuichi||JPN||103|
|18. Travaglia, Stefano||ITA||81|
|19. Vesely, Jiri||CZE||105|
Source: Press Release