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Tough opener for Somdev

India's Somdev Devvarman begins his Australian Open campaign against Tommy Robredo of Spain, according to the draw made on Friday.

sports Updated: Jan 15, 2011 03:05 IST
HT Correspondent

India's Somdev Devvarman begins his Australian Open campaign against Tommy Robredo of Spain, according to the draw made on Friday.

With the Open promoting itself as the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific, Devvarman got a wild card into the main draw on the back of his gold medal-winning performance at the Guangzhou Asian Games in November.

While a clash against Robredo, the former world no.5, sounds ominous, there are a few positives stacking up for the top-ranked Indian.

The Spaniard, 28, didn't have the best of years in 2010, dropping out of the top 50.

Moreover, Robredo is a percentage player and doesn't have the power game to blow Devvarman off the court. In the past, the Indian has shown he loves the grind, and if he can stay up with Robredo physically, he could make a match out of it.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/15_01_11_metro_22.jpg

It will be Devvarman's first main draw match at Melbourne Park.

He had lost in the qualifiers the past two years.

While Devvarman is the sole Indian in the singles, the country will have more participation in doubles.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will be playing a Grand Slam together after a nine-year break while Rohan Bopanna will team up with Pakistan's Aisam Qureshi. The doubles draw will only be made on Sunday.

Sania advances
Sania Mirza defeated Iryna Kuryanovich of Belarus 6-4, 6-2 in the first round qualifiers of the Australian Open on Friday.
The Indian next takes on Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko.