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Vardhan, Jeevan bring star power to 25th edition of tennis Nationals


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Seasoned Vishnu Vardhan and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who bring Grand Slam experience with them, will lend much-needed sheen to the Fenesta Open when the 25th edition of the National Hard Court Tennis championship, begins here from Monday.
Vardhan, who competed at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships with N Sriram Balaji, will feature in both singles and doubles.
The 32-year-old has come through qualifying in the singles main draw and is pairing with left-handed Nedunchezhiyan for the doubles.
It only raises the profile of the tournament to have top-100 player Nedunchezhiyan, who competed in three Grand Slams, save US Open, this year.
Nedunchezhiyan is ranked 82 while Vardhan is 220.
Their presence is good for the tournament since tennis nationals events are without the star players.
Global badminton stars such as PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal still compete in badminton National tournament but tennis being a sport with different dimensions, does not have that luxury to have country's best players in the field.
The players have ranking points to defend and earn prize money on the professional circuit because they are on their own while travelling the world for competitions.
So, what brings Vardhan and Nedunchezhiyan to Nationals when the event has largely served as a platform to throw some new talent.
"We had a three-week break. There was only one Challenger tournament, where I could have played this week, so Jeevan and I thought to have some match practice and work on our game together before we play the end of the season tournaments," Vardhan told PTI.
"And it all began here. I started getting recognition from this tournament only. The organisers wanted me to play, so I said yes," Vardhan, who won singles titles in 2015 and 2016, added.
The singles field also features 2017 champion from Punjab Dalwinder Singh, Delhi's Kunal Anand and Kolkata boy Nitin Sinha while Andhra Pradesh's Nikki Ponacha will be the top seed.
On the women's side, Sowjanya Bhavisetti will lead the field as talented Mahak Jain is absent this time from the event.
Bhuvana Kalva, who overcame troubles in personal life, will be the second seed in the main draw, which also features multiple-time champion Prerna Bhambri and Sai Samhita.
The winners both in senior and junior (U-18) champions will be richer by Rs 3 lakh each.

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First Published: Sep 29 2019 | 7:10 PM IST

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