Sakal Times : Players from 16 nations arrive for KPIT ATP Challenger event

PUNE: Indian Davis Cup stars Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramnathan, Saketh Meyneni and Prajnesh Gunneswaran are part of the strong line-up that includes players from 16 countries, who are set to play in the city in the 4th KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger tennis tournament at the Mhalunge-Balewadi Tennis Complex here from November 13 to 18.

The 2015 champion Yuki Bhambri has confirmed his participation for the next week’s ATP Challenger, the final entry list for which will be known by Friday, which is the last day of withdrawal as per the ATP regulation.

The $50,000 plus Hospitality KPIT MSLTA ATP Challenger is being jointly organised by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association and the Pune Metropolitan District Tennis Association (PMDTA).

“I am happy that our tournament which is being held for the fourth  consecutive year has helped Indian players move up to newer heights and has enabled them to build their tennis careers. It has always been our aim to promote Indian tennis players and Asian players through this event,” said Kishor Patil, President of PMDTA and Chairman of the organising committee.

Pontificating the importance of this Challenger, Patil said that the 2014 champion, Yuichi Sugita of Japan went on to make it to the Top-100 in the year 2015 and is currently ranked No 39 in the world.

“Our own Yuki Bhambri bagged the title to propel into the Top-100. The event helped last year’s finalist Prajnesh Gunneswaran to move into the Top-200 bracket and also grab a Davis Cup spot and the 2016 winner Sadio Dumbia moved into the Top-125. We hope that this event will help the winners to move into the coveted Top-100 bracket, this year as well,” said Patil.

The cut-off for this year’s tournament has been set as high as 303, which makes it a very strong Challenger at this level.

“We expect at least 8 to 10 players from India to make it to the ATP draws in the main and qualifying draw, which in turn will provide them an opportunity to compete at a world class level and that too on the home turf,” said Sunder Iyer, Honorary Secretary of the MSLTA.

Portugal’s Rogerio Santos has been nominated as the ATP Supervisor for the event.

The qualifying round will be played on November 11 and 12 followed by the main draws which begin on Monday, November 13.

The semi-finals and doubles final are scheduled for Friday, November 17, while the singles Final will be played on November 18 which is a Saturday. 

Apart from the proper tournament, the event adds up a host of festive activities for all segments. 

On offer during the week will be a tennis carnival that features a District level junior tennis tournament, an Amateur Seniors’ League, and also there will be daily contests which will be  exclusively for coaches and corporate tennis.

Past winners (final results):
– 2016: Sadio Doumbia (France) bt Prajnesh Gunneswaran (India) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
– 2015: Yuki Bhambri (India) bt Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
– 2014: Yichi Sugita (Japan) bt Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras (Spain ) 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 6-4.

– 2016: Purav Raja and Divij Sharan (India) bt Luca Margaroli (Sui) and Hugo Nys (France) 3-6, 6-3, [11-9].
– 2015: Gerard Granollers and Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras (Spain) bt Maximilian Neuchrist (Austria) and Divij Sharan (India ) 1-6, 6-3, [10-6].
– 2014: Saketh Myneni and Sanam Singh (India ) bt Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana (Thailand) 6-3, 6-2.


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