In a blow to the city's tennis lovers, France's Caroline Garcia, who was expected to be the top seed, and Belgium's Elise Mertens have withdrawn from the WTA Chennai Open, the organisers announced on Friday. (More Tennis News)
Indian No.2 Karman Kaur Thandi received the third wild card and would join the country's top player Ankita Raina and former US Open finalist Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) in the singles main draw.
With the main draw set to get underway at the SDAT Tennis Stadium on Monday, Garcia, ranked No 17 in the world prior to the US Open, had to pull out of the event due to scheduling challenges, a release from the organisers said.
The Frenchwoman reached the semi-finals of the US Open before going down to Tunisian Ons Jabeur in straight sets on Thursday.
Garcia's decision to withdraw would mean that American Alison Riske-Amritraj, ranked 29 before the start of the US Open, is likely to be the top-seed in the singles.
Mertens, a former world No 12 and a US Open semi-finalist, has pulled out due to injury, the release said. The Belgian lost in the first round of the women's singles at the US Open and pulled out of her subsequent doubles first round match due to injury.
Tournament Director Hiten Joshi said he was disappointed with the withdrawal of the two players but hoped to see them in India in the near future.
"We are very disappointed that Caroline and Elise have had to withdraw from the tournament. We wish them all the best for the rest of their season and hope they come to play in Chennai very soon," he said.
Despite their pull-out, Joshi said the tournament had some quality players and the fans could look forward to interesting action.
As a result of the withdrawals of Garcia and Mertens, Canadian Carol Zhao and Greece's Despina Papamichail have moved into the main draw.
Five Indians in qualifying draw
Five Indian players will be trying their luck in the qualifying rounds for the WTA 250 event which will begin on Saturday.
The Indians in the fray are: Rutuja Bhosale, Riya Bhatia, Sowjanya Bavisetti, Sai Chamarthi and Lakshmi Prabha Arunkumar.
They would be aiming to join compatriots Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi in the main draw.
India's No. 3 ranked singles player Rutuja Bhosale will take on 12th seed En-Shuo Liang, No. 4 Riya Bhatia will battle against sixth seed Justina Mikulskyte and the country's No. 5 Sowjanya Bavisetti will meet 11th seed Kyoka Okamura in the first round of the 24-player qualifying draw.
Two Tamil Nadu players -- Sai Chamarthi and Lakshmi Prabha Arunkumar -- would also be seen in action. Chamarthi would run into second seed Nao Hibino while 16-year-old Lakshmi Prabha would face top seed Yuki Naito.
Players need to win two qualifying matches to secure one of six qualifying spots in the main draw.