|Posted on January 2, 2011 at 4:20 PM|
hmmm there is a sort of superstition about the tournament in Chennai....
The top seeds have never quite enjoyed a good run at the Chennai Open and Berdych needs to be aware of it as he comes up against Portugal's top ranked Frederico Gil in the first round.
LET THE ACTION BEGIN: The thought that top seeds have crashed out in the first round will weigh on Tomas Berdych's mind when the Aircel Chennai Open gets underway on Monday. Photo: R. Ragu
*I remember Tomas said in interview he is not superstitious*
A tournament win is like an anodyne; a salve for endless waits at baggage counters; an anaesthetic for distressed bodies against mindless hacks and robotic media sessions. A shot of this incomparable palliative is perhaps the ideal way to start one's season. And come Monday, 32 men will load up their guns for a crack at the 16th edition of the Chennai Open and the $450,000 it has on offer.
An ATP 250 event such as this one functions on the routine whims of its immediate environment: the nauseous spiel on over-rated local players; a substantial elevation of the stature of the journeymen; embarrassing grovelling acts carried out before the ‘star' attractions, one of whom is the 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych.
When top-seeded Berdych takes on Portugal's Frederico Gil in their lung-opener, the point preying on his mind will be Chennai Open's gradually deepening reputation as the scourge of seeds.
Fifth timeRobin Soderling, seeded to win in 2010, crashed out in the first round to American Robby Ginepri, making it the fifth time in the tournament's history that the No.1 seed had been eliminated in the first or second round.
If he survives that precedent, Berdych's likely threats in the top half of the draw are fifth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy (against whom he holds a 1-0 advantage), and later, in a putative semifinal, Wawrinka, the third seed.
The Swiss, who had a resurgent second half of 2010 — reaching the last-eight stage at Flushing Meadows – meets Rohan Bopanna to start with. Should Wawrinka get past that hurdle — he had beaten Bopanna convincingly in the last edition — he is likely to face Somdev Devvarman.
Following a gold rush in multi-discipline games, Devvarman has been on a high.
But he should know, more than anybody else, how his ultimate test lies in going deeper in Tour events.
To reprise his career-best 2009 final showing here, Devvarman will have to wade through, at the very least, both Wawrinka and Berdych.
At the other end of the draw, danger lurks for double defending champion Marin Cilic.
A conscientious workhorse, the stoic and spindly Croat will have to summon all his year-opening expertise to get past Kei Nishikori in the first round.
The 21-year-old Japanese beat Cilic in the second round of the 2010 U.S. Open, twice rallying from a set down to clinch the match in five sets.
And there is no reason to suspect that this encounter won't be as tense an affair as that one.
Also in Cilic's half are Richard Gasquet, seeded fourth and Janko Tipsarevic, seeded sixth.
Update… tournament started today Monday, January 3, 2011 and it seems the malediction is true…
Nishikori stuns Cilic at Chennai Open
Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori created a big upset on the opening day of the Chennai Open by knocking out the second seed Marin Cilic of Croatia here on Monday.