Wawrinka, Raonic all set to start their campaign

Chennai: The second round of the Aircel Chennai Open kicks off Wednesday and two of the Top 4 seeds are among the line-up, making their first appearances of the week after first round byes.

The first of them to play is No. 4 seed Milos Raonic, who faces Romania’s Victor Hanescu. Raonic has come a long way in the last 12 months - at Chennai Open last year he was ranked No. 156 and lost in the qualies, and now he is ranked No. 31 and one of the top seeds. The 21-year-old received a first round bye this year and today, in his main draw debut here, plays 30-year-old veteran Hanescu. Hanescu’s No. 90 ranking might not be that threatening but he has been as high as No. 26 before (one spot shy of Raonic’s career-high of No. 25) and he did win the pair’s only previous meeting, on the Canadian’s home turf - a 64 64 victory in Toronto in 2010.

Next is No. 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka against French lucky loser Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Wawrinka has been very strong in Chennai the last two years, reaching the final in 2010 (losing to Marin Cilic) and going one step further with a title in 2011 (beating Xavier Malisse in the final). His title here last year was his first on hardcourts, his other two ATP World Tour titles coming on clay. Roger -Vasselin lost in the final round of qualies but got into the draw as a lucky loser, and beat fellow Frenchman Eric Prodon in straight sets in the first round. This is a first-time ATP World Tour meetings but they did meet once at a Challenger event in 2005, with Wawrinka winning.

The Chennai crowds will be treated to some world class doubles in the last two matches on Centre Court, starting with No. 3 seeds Leander Paes and Janko Tipsarevic taking on Canadian duo Raonic and Vasek Pospisil. Paes is a legendary doubles player - he has six Grand Slam men’s doubles titles and six Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, and is also a former World No. 1 in doubles (currently No. 8). After that will be the No. 1-seeded all-Indian team of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna against Xavier Malisse and Ken Skupski. Like Paes, Bhupathi is legendary - four Grand Slam men’s doubles titles and seven Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, and also a former World No. 1 in doubles (currently No. 7). His new partner, Bopanna, is a rising star - the 31-year-old from Bangalore has been as high as No. 9 in doubles and is currently ranked No. 11.

Wednesday Second Rd. FedEx ATP Head 2 Head – In Order of Play by Court

Centre Court
Victor Hanescu (ROU) vs (4) Milos Raonic (CAN) Hanescu Leads 1-0

10 ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (Canada)   Hard R64 Victor Hanescu 6-4 6-4

Hanescu FastFacts:

2011 Highlights:

F: Nice (l Almagro); SF: Casablanca (l Starace)

YTD W-L: 1-0

YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1

Date of Birth: July 21, 1981

South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 90

Hanescu, 30, made a successful debut in Chennai with a 63 64 win over Sam Querrey on Tuesday
The top Romanian finished in Top 100 for eighth time in nine years (at No. 90), highlighted by his fifth career ATP World Tour final in Nice (l. to Almagro in three sets) in May…Also a SF in Casablanca
This is the Bucharest native’s first tournament since Sept. 20 in his hometown and he was bothered by a knee injury in final months of the season

Raonic FastFacts:

2011 Highlights:

W: San Jose (d Verdasco); F: Memphis (l Roddick); SF: Estoril (l Verdasco); Stockholm (l Monfils); QF: Halle (l Petzschner)

YTD W-L: 0-0

YTD Titles: 0

Career Titles: 1

Date of Birth: December 27, 1990

South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 31

Raonic, 20, is making his main draw Chennai debut after losing in the final round of qualifying last year to Frenchman Roger-Vasselin
The top Canadian earned ATP Newcomer of the Year honors for breakout season with first ATP World Tour title (San Jose) and 31 match wins, which is what his final ranking was last year…Only player born in 1990s to win an ATP World Tour singles title
Also runner-up in Memphis (l. to Roddick) and semi-finalist in Estoril and Stockholm…Made Grand Slam debut at Australian Open (as qualifier) and advanced to 4R (d. No. 10 Youzhny), losing to No. 7 Ferrer in four sets
Underwent right hip surgery on July 5 after suffering injury in 2R (June 22) at Wimbledon (vs. Muller) and returned two months later

(3) Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs (LL) Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) First ATP Meeting

Other Meeting:

05 Wrexham CH (Wales) Hard R32 Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6(8) 7-6(5)

Wawrinka FastFacts:

2011 Highlights:

W: Chennai (d Malisse); SF: Buenos Aires (l Chela); Basel (l Federer); QF: Australian Open (l Federer); Acapulco (l Dolgopolov); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Federer); Gstaad (l Granollers); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada (l Fish)

YTD W-L: 0-0

YTD Titles: 0

Career Titles: 3

Date of Birth: March 28, 1985

South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 17

Wawrinka, 26, the reigning champion (d. Malisse) and 2010 runner-up (l. to Cilic), enters with a 9-2 career mark in Chennai
The No. 2 Swiss finished in the Top 20 (at No. 17) for the first time since 2008 when he was a year-end best No. 13
Overall, reached quarter-finals or better in eight tournaments, including first Grand Slam of season at Australian Open (d. Berdych, Roddick, l. to Federer)
Helped his country back into Davis Cup World Group by defeating Hewitt in fifth and decisive rubber in five sets (coming back from 1-2 sets down)

Roger-Vasselin FastFacts:

2011 Highlights:

QF: Newport (l Kamke)

YTD W-L: 1-0

YTD Titles: 0

Career Titles: 0

Date of Birth: November 28, 1983

South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking: 106

Roger-Vasselin, 28, made his way into the main draw as a lucky loser when top Indian Somdev Devvarman withdrew due to a right shoulder injury
The Frenchman compiled his best results on Challenger level to finish just outside Top 100 (at No. 106)
Put together a 24-10 match record and won Granby title and St. Remy on home soil
His best ATP World Tour result was the quarter-finals in Newport in July (l. to Kamke)…Qualified into main draw a personal-best six times on ATP World Tour