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Back to the grind

sports Updated: Dec 31, 2012 02:01 IST
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After an intensive off season, it’s time for the pros to showcase what they’re best at. The new ATP season kicks off with the Chennai Open, beginning today. The ATP 250 event, which has been entertaining the Indian tennis fans since 1997, will see the likes of Tomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic and former champions Marin Cilic and Stanislas Wawrinka in action at the SDAT Stadium.

While the stars will be battling it out for top honours in singles, India’s wild card entrants, Somdev Devvarman and Yuki Bhambri have been handed tough openers. With Devvarman still trying to find a foothold after his shoulder surgery, his tough first round opponent will be Czech Jan Hajek. Bhambri, on the other hand, will be taking on sixth seed Dutch Robin Haase. With three doubles specialists in the country, the event will ensure high-pressure entertainment.

While Leander Paes will partner Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Mahesh Bhupathi, who is playing his last season on the tour, will pair with Canadian Daniel Nestor. Rohan Bopanna will play with American Rajeev Ram.

Vishnu ousts Sanam
Vishnu Vardhan edged past fellow Davis Cupper and doubles partner Sanam Singh in a tough three-setter to move to the second round of the qualifying event on Sunday.

Vishnu overcame diminutive Sanam 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3. The duo will play the doubles main draw as wild card entrants. Also advancing to the second round was Prakash Amritraj, who got past Japanese Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in his first round qualifying match.

Djokovic wins
Abu Dhabi: Novak Djokovic got his season off to a perfect start by defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament. Almagro had been a late replacement for the injured Rafael Nadal.

Venus leads
Perth: Venus Williams beat Chanelle Scheepers to give the US a 2-1 lead over South Africa in the Hopman Cup on Sunday.