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Gasquet faces Vliegen in opener

Source: PTI
September 22, 2007 19:31 IST
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Indian wild card recipients Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Dev Barman got relatively easier first round matches when they drew players ranked outside the top 100 as their opening round singles opponents at the Kingfisher Airlines Mumbai Open in Mumbai on Saturday.

India No. 1 Bopanna, ranked 245, was drawn to face 117th-ranked Frenchman left-hander Nicolas Devilder.

Barman, ranked 1035th, will face 20-year-old Italian right-hander Fabio Fognini in the first set to start on September 24 after the qualifying rounds scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

The 27-year-old Bopanna, whose ranking has slipped from his best-ever 213 in July this year, however, said it is not very easy to play anyone in the ATP events when asked whether this was the sort of draw he could have hoped for.

"In these events every opponent is tough. I had played the same guy and lost to him in straight sets in Vietnam last year. I am hoping that I can do well here and win," the top Indian singles player said after the draw at the Cricket Club of India.

Bopanna will play in the doubles with Pakistan number one Aisam Qureshi as his partner.

 The tournament has been hit hard by injury-related withdrawals of two-time Grand Slam singles winner Marat Safin of Russia and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. 

Frenchman Richard Gasquet, world-ranked 14th, is the top seed while former two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia is the second seed in the main draw.

Gasquet will face Kristof Vliegen of Belgium in his first round match, while Hewitt drew a qualifier as his opening round opponent.

The singles winner and runner-up would receive USD 65,850 and 35,500 respectively while the corresponding amounts for the doubles are USD 20,250 and 11,550.

The singles champion would also pocket 175 points, the losing finalist 120, the semi-finalists 75 each, quarter-finalists 50 and losers in the round of sixteen 15 each.

The qualifiers to the main draw would get five points each but none would be awarded to first round losers in the round of 32.

Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, on a comeback trail back into the top 100 after a wrist-injury lay-off, is the third wild card in the 32-man singles draw which also includes four qualifiers.

Sixteen Indians are in the qualifying rounds in which Davide Sanguinetti of Italy and Lars Burgsmuller of Germany are the top two ranked players.

The Indians in the qualifiers are: Vinod Sridhar, Akash Wagh, Rohan Gajjar, Neishit Vakil, Vijay Kannan (seed 7), Navdeep Singh, Christopher Marquis, Yuki Bhambri, Stephen Amritraj, Tushar Liberhan, V P Chandrasekar, Vivek Shokeen, Karan Rastogi, Akash Gujarati, Raja Purav and Sitaram Sudanwa.

Rains played spoilsport right through the day and no qualifying round matches scheduled for Saturday could be completed.

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