Tennis: Bedene, Chung Hyeon to vie at Chennai Open qualifiers

Aljaz BedeneChennai: Britains No.4 tennis player ljaz Bedene and South Koreas talented Chung Hyeon will be the star attractions in the qualifying rounds of the 22nd edition of the Aircel Chennai Open to be held here from January 2, it was announced on Wednesday.

Bedene,27, who was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia and represented his country in the Davis Cup till 2015, made it as far as No.45 in singles rankings last November. He is a familiar face in Chennai, having made it to the final in 2015, where he lost to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.

Hyeon is a bulky 20-year-old who was awarded ATP's Most Improved Player of 2015. A product of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, he played the finals of the Wimbledon Juniors in 2013 and attained a career-high ranking of seven in this category.

In the seniors, he climbed as high as 51, jumping a phenomenal 120 places in less than a year. He is now a regular feature in South Korea's Davis Cup team.

Argentina's Nicolás Kicker (No. 110), Jozef Kovalík (117), Jürgen Melzer (136), Marco Trungelliti (146), Steven Diez (166) and Federico Gaio (175) are among the other players who will be battling it out for the last places in the Aircel Chennai Open.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) released a rich field of 14 players on Tuesday who will be vying for the last four places up for grabs through the tough grind of qualifiers.

They include players from nine different countries, including such powerhouses as Canada, Russia, Austria and Slovakia.

The lowest ranked player who made it into the official player acceptance list is Italy's Matteo Donati, ranked as high as 207.

But with India's Saketh Myneni (ranked 194) being given a wild card (along with Ramkumar Ramanathan), Croatia's Franko Skugor (No. 216) sneaked into the draw.

The qualifying rounds will be held on December 31 and January 1 at the SDAT Tennis Stadium.