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Wawrinka: Bopanna's 'familiar' opponent

A wry smile spread on Stanislas Wawrinka's face as the name came out of the bowl. Rohan Bopanna, again.

sports Updated: Jan 01, 2011 23:31 IST
Deepti Patwardhan

A wry smile spread on Stanislas Wawrinka's face as the name came out of the bowl. Rohan Bopanna, again.

The two would be facing off in the first round of the Chennai Open for the second year on the trot. Wawrinka had easily quashed Bopanna's challenge last year, beating him 6-1, 6-4 in a one-sided match. And this year, seeded third, the Swiss will still start as the favourite but playing a local player can always be tricky.

Bopanna will also take confidence from his win over Ricardo Mello, which helped India clinch the tie 3-2 against Brazil and retain their spot in the Davis Cup World Group, when he last visited Chennai in September.

While the 30-year-old Indian is leaning more towards doubles at this stage of his career, his big game, accentuated by that booming serve, always makes him a dangerous floater.

The Chennai Open draw, held on Saturday, was, however, easier on the other two Indians in the line-up.

Both Somdev Devvarman and wild-card entrant Yuki Bhambri, will play qualifiers first-up.

Given that all goes to plan, Somdev will be up against the winner of the Bopanna-Wawrinka contest in the second round.

And it's not only in the singles that the Swiss can prove a hindrance.

Wawrinka and partner Frank Dancevic have been drawn as the first-round opponents for the re-united Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.

Meanwhile, Bopanna and Pakistani partner Aisam Qureshi, seeded second, will take on South American pair of Marcos Daniel and Eduardo Schwank first up.