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Former world no. 8 Youzhny headed to Manila for ATP Challenger

/ 06:05 PM January 13, 2016
Mikhail Youzhny of Russia reacts after losing a point against Gilles Simon of France during their first round match in the Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on October 6, 2015.     AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA

Mikhail Youzhny of Russia reacts after losing a point against Gilles Simon of France during their first round match in the Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo on October 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA / AFP / TORU YAMANAKA

The regulars of the pro tour are coming.

Top caliber players from around the world are coming in full force as the Philippines stages its first ever $75,000 ATP Challenger on Jan. 18 to 24 at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.

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The Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) bared the list of international netters who are seeing action in the meet which is included in the Association of Tennis Professionals and gives away higher ranking points.

World No. 33 Mikhail Youzhny of Russia will compete, hoping to nail his second straight Challenger title this year after winning in Bangkok last week.

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The 33-year-old Youzhny, who ranked as high as eighth in the world, made the semifinals of the US Open in 2010 and 2006. He became an Internet sensation when his video, showing him hitting his head repeatedly with his racket after flubbing a return shot, went viral.

American Frances Taifoe, dubbed as the next big star for US tennis, will also play. The 17-year-old is currently 176th in the world and won the USA ITF Futures last year.

Indian star Somdev Devvarman, ranked 177th, is also coming after wining a Challenger event in Illinois. Also coming over are 28-year-old Dutch Sijslong Igor, who just won a Challenger in Brescia, Italy; Radu Albot of Moldova, who is 121st in the world; 106th-ranked Vanni Luca of Italy; and Lukas Lacko of Slovakia who is 110th in the world.

ìThis is next-level tournament and the players coming over are regular campaigners in the ATP tour,î said Philta vice president Randy Villanueva.

Also included in the list of foreign players are Japanese Tatsuma Ito (119th), Go Soeda (132nd) and Yuichi Sugita (126th) who have played Filipino players in Davis Cup ties.

The Philippines will have Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon and Alberto Lim Jr., in the wild card stage.

Ruben Gonzales, Patrick John Tierro and Filipino-American Mico Santiago gained wild cards to the qualifying round which starts Jan. 15.

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TAGS: ATP challenger, Mikhail Youzhny, Sports, Tennis
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