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Sania, Somdev to open their US Open campaign Monday

Sunday, August 29, 2010 08:16:26 PM, IANS

New York: Sania Mirza and Somdev Devvarman are the only Indians in the singles draw of the US Open beginning here Monday.

Sania, who is ranked 160, will face Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito, ranked 176, in the first round Monday.

De Brito, 17, had been in great form last year when she made it to the third round in French Open and the second round at Wimbledon. She reached a carrer-high ranking of 76 in June 2009, but since then the Portugal girl has slipped down the ladder.

It will be the first meeting between the two players and if Sania manages to clear the first round, she is likely to face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, seeded 20th, who plays German Kristina Barrois in the first round.

Saina had to qualify for the main draw of US Open singles, the first time since 2005 that the Indian had to play in a Grand Slam qualifiers.

Her best singles performance here came in 2005 when she reached the fourth round. She also reached the doubles quarterfinals here in 2007.

Somdev, who entered the top-100 this season and is currently ranked 99, will meet South African Davis Cupper Kevin Anderson, ranked 77.

If Somdev gets past his one-time doubles partner Anderson, he will square up against either American Tim Smyczek or Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.

Somdev's best performance at a Grand Slam came last year at US Open when he reached the second round.

In the men's doubles, Leander Paes will be defending his title with Czech Lukas Dlouhy. They had beaten India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles of Bahamas in the title clash last year.

Paes was also the runners-up in mixed doubles with Cara Black in 2009.

Bhupathi will be teaming up with Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the men's doubles.

Also in action will be India's Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan's Aisam Ul haq Qureshi, who have been in hot form this season. They captured their first ATP World Tour doubles title in Johannesburg in February and reached their third tour-level final in New Haven Saturday. The India-Pakistani pair were finalists in Nice and Casablanca earlier in the year.




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