Bengaluru Open
Bengaluru Open: Sumit Nagal won the ATP Challengers event in 2017.IANS

Bengaluru Open returns to the garden city for its second edition this year with an increased prize money, which makes it the biggest ATP Challenger Event in Asia.

One of the three annual Challenger tournaments played in India, the $150,000 Bengaluru Open will be played at the KSLTA Stadium between November 12 and 17.

Building on the success of the inaugural edition of the Challenger event from last year, the prize money has been increased by 50 percent.

The upcoming edition will also be preceded by a national-level ranking tournament between October 22 and 27. The winner of the tournament, set to be organised by the KSLTA, will be awarded a direct entry to the main draw of Bengaluru Open, which will also have three wildcards.

Top Indian players, including defending champion Sumit Nagal, fit-again Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, and Saketh Myneni, are slated to participate in the tournament as 125 ATP points are up for grabs.

India needs more Challengers: Zeeshan Ali

Speaking at the launch of the Bengaluru Open on Thursday, India's Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali stressed the importance of hosting more Challenger events in the country.

Ali expressed delight at the availability of Indian players for the week-long tournament, especially ahead of the country's Davis Cup Qualifier against Italy in February.

The former India international also pointed out how Nagal's victory last year and the points he had collected helped him gain entry to top-tier tournaments earlier this year.

"This [ATP Challenger events] is a huge stepping stone for any tennis player. In a country where we don't have many challengers, an event like this [Bengaluru Open] is a big opportunity for players to make the transition from playing in the lower tournaments to get into the top-100 or -150," Ali said.

"An event like this -- a $150,000 tournament plus hospitality -- is a huge opportunity for players. We need to have more of these tournaments.

"Players are also looking forward to coming because of the precious ATP points. It helps the players get that breakthrough. Sumit Nagal won the tournament and jumped more than 90 spots. That's what our players need. We always complain about not having enough top-100 players in our country.