Chennai: The doubles draw in the Aircel Chennai Open Tennis Tournament 2012, to be held at the SDAT-Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium from January 2-8, will feature a strong field that includes a string of former champions and several high-profile names.
While Indian tennis fans are in for a treat with three of the country’s top three doubles players in action, the draw also includes Beijing Olympic doubles gold medallist Stanislas Wawrinka, the 2007 singles and doubles winner Xavier Malisse, and French Open doubles runner-up Juan Sebastian Cabal.
The Indian duo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna are the top seed and open their campaign against the pair of Malisse and Briton Ken Skupski.
Leander Paes along with his Serbian partner Janko Tipsarevic are seeded No. 3 and are drawn against the pair of Indian Somdev Devvarman and Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines in the first round.
The American pair of Rajeev Ram and Scott Lipsky is seeded No. 2 and will open against Indian wild card duo of Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, while the other Indian wild card pair of Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash and Ramkumar Ramanathan is drawn against fourth seed Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel in the opening round.
Paes and Bhupathi reunited on the tour at the start of the 2011 season after a nine-year gap and bagged their fifth Aircel Chennai Open doubles crown, but announced this month that they were parting ways again.
Bhupathi and Bopanna have got together for the 2012 season with their eyes firmly set on success at the London Olympics in July.
Cabal, who made it to the French Open doubles final on tour-level debut, is pairing up with fellow Colombian Robert Farah, while Wawrinka, 2009 doubles finalist and 2011 singles winner, is pairing with German Andreas Beck.