Janko Tipsarevic Favored to Win ATP Chennai as 2012 Season Starts

Shane Lambert@uncoolnegatedAnalyst IIJanuary 1, 2012

The ATP makes a stop in Chennai, India this week, where top 10 player Janko Tipsarevic, the top-seeded player in the Chennai draw, is considered the favorite to take down the 250-level tour title.

"Tipsy," as one of the top four seeds in the event, has a bye through the first round of the tournament and he awaits the winner between Karol Beck and wild card Yuki Bhambri. The Serb won two titles last season, both of them post-U.S. Open, as he took down both ATP Kuala Lumpur and ATP Moscow.

Other threats for the title in Chennai include veteran Stanislas Wawrinka, the tournament's three seed, Canadian Milos Raonic, the tournament's fourth seed and second-seeded Nicolas Almagro.

While Wawrinka and Raonic are genuine threats for the tournament title, Almagro could be overrated even as just the fourth favorite. He is the 10th ranked player on tour, but to date, he has never made a hard court final in his career.

His 14 ATP final appearances are all from clay court events, and the Spaniard may have a tough time in a semifinal match against either Raonic, Sam Querrey or Victor Hanescu.

The sleeper in the Chennai field is Ivan Dodig, a player who enjoyed his best season in 2011, including a hard court title in Zagreb. The Chennai field is not loaded with stars as it is just a 250-level event and as such, any top-50 player who plays well has a realistic chance of taking the title down.

The tournament champion will take down over $70,000 (US) in prize money and 250 ranking points to start the season off. Wawrinka is the player with the most to lose with a poor performance, as he won the title last season and he'll need to duplicate that effort to avoid a potential minor ranking slide.

There is a great deal on the line for Belgian Xavier Malisse, as he made the final last season in Chennai. If he does not do at least that well this season, the 31 year old and former Wimbledon semifinalist will likely slip out of the top 50.

Predicted tournament winner: Tipsarevic

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