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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Murray gatecrashes Federer-Nadal Grand Slam draw dominance

The three-year Grand Slam seeding dominance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has been broken by Andy Murray as the new British world number two takes the second spot at the US Open starting on Monday.

With top seed Federer back on his number one ranking and Nadal down to third, the pair has still been drawn into the same half at Flushing Meadows. "I played great in Cincinnati," said Federer, who won that title last weekend handily over Murray. "I hope things can go well at the Open."

Federer begins his campaign for a sixth consecutive title at the event, where he last lost in 2003, playing unknown American wild card Devin Britton after Thursday's draw.

Murray starts with Latvian Ernests Gulbis, billed as a name to watch a few seasons ago but still to fulfil potential.

Nadal will provide a huge opening test for returning Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who will be playing on the Tour for the first time since April 30 after proving his innocence in a suspected doping case.

Gasquet crashed out of qualifying last weekend in New Haven, denying himself match play before the year's final major.

Federer, bidding for a 16th Grand Slam title, is pencilled in for a possible quarter-final with Nikolay Davydenko, while Murray could renew his rivalry with Argentine Juan Del Potro in the last eight.

In women's play, Russian Dinara Safin takes the top seeding and opens against a wild card in the shape of Australian Olivia Rogowska, the number 167 teenager who won her lone Grand Slam match in the Paris first round last spring.

Holder Serena Williams starts with compatriot Alexa Glatch, while third-seeded sister Venus plays Vera Dushevina. Former champion Maria Sharapova has a modest 29th seeding as she comes back from nearly a year of shoulder worries.

Belgian Kim Clijsters, who lifted the trophy in 2005, continues her comeback to tennis that began this month as she plays Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine.

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