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Vishnu Vardhan seeded No. 1 in top prize money tennis

Mumbai: Vishnu Vardhan was on Thursday given the top billing in the men`s singles event of the Rs 12-lakh All India Open men and women`s tennis championships, beginning here from Monday.

Vardhan, who is part of the rebel group demanding better playing conditions in Davis Cup from AITA and subsequently left out of the Indian squad to take on South Korea from February 1-3, will start as favourite in the men`s singles event, where winner will pocket Rs 1.25 lakh.

The week-long event is being organised by the suburban Juhu Vile Parle Gymkhana Club at their courts under the banner of Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association and All India Tennis Association.

Gujarat`s Eetee Mehta is the top seeded woman player vying for the top prize of Rs 75,000. Prize money in the singles will be offered from the first round itself, with the first round losers gaining Rs 7,000 each. There will also be doubles competitions for men and women, besides mixed doubles.

According to tournament director Uday Vora, the event has received in excess of 170 entries and the singles main draws for men and women will include 32 players.

While 20 of the top players will get a direct entry into the main draw, there will be eight qualifiers, while four wild cards will be awarded.

Qualifying rounds are to be played on January 26 and 27. While the mixed doubles finals are scheduled for February 1, the women singles and men`s doubles finals would be held on February 2 and the men`s singles final and women`s doubles final would follow on February 3.

The seedings: Men`s singles: 1. Vishnu Vardhan (AP); 2. Vijay Sundar Prashanth (TN); 3. P C Vignesh (AP); 4. Sidharth Rawat (UP); 5. Nitten Kirtane (Mah); 6. Rohan Gide (Mah); 7. Saurav Sukul (WB); 8. Shahbaaz Khan (Mah).

Women`s singles: 1. Eetee Mehta (Guj); 2. Natasha Palha (Goa); 3. Tarannum Handa (Delhi); 4. Nupur Kaul (Mah); 5. Anushka Bhargava (AP); 6. Manya Nagpal (UP); 7. Sowjanya Bavisetti (AP); 8. Nehel Sahni (Delhi).