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Agassi, Clijsters get top billing

New York: Two-time champion Andre Agassi of the US and womenís world No. 1 Kim Clijsters of Belgium will be the top seeds at the US Open starting on Monday.

Agassi, the reigning Australian Open champion and world No. 1, will be followed by Roger Federer of Switzerland, the current Wimbledon champion, Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, the reigning French Open champion, and Andy Roddick of the US, who won consecutive Masters Series events in Montreal and Cincinnati recently.

Clijsters, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up, will be followed by compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne, the reigning French Open champion, and two Americans ó Lindsay Davenport, the 1998 US Open champion and Venus Williams, a two-time US Open champion and last yearís runner-up.

Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne are the first women ever from the same country other than the US to be seeded one and two at the US Open.

Organisers have continued the practice of following the ATP entry system and WTA Tour rankings to determine the menís and womenís singles seeds. This is the third consecutive year that the US Open has seeded 32 players in both singles events.

Agassi, 33, the oldest player to be ranked No. 1, will enter the US Open as the top seed for the third time in his career after 1995 and 2000. He won his eighth career Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in January. He has a 62-15 record at the US Open has and reached the singles final here five times since 1990. He was runner-up last year to Pete Sampras. Agassi won the first of his two US Open titles as an unseeded player in 1994.

Clijsters, 20, took over the top spot on the WTA Tour rankings on August 11 after winning her Tour-leading sixth singles title of the year. She reached her second French Open final in June and was a semi-finalist at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year. She has a 10-4 record in four appearances at the US Open with her best showing in 2001 when she reached the quarter finals.

The draw for the US Open will take place on Wednesday.

SEEDINGS

Men: Andre Agassi (1, US), Roger Federer (2, Sui), Juan Carlos Ferrero (3, Esp), Andy Roddick (4, US), Guillermo Coria (5, Arg), Lleyton Hewitt (6, Aus), Carlos Moya (7, Esp), Rainer Schuettler (8, Ger), Sebastien Grosjean (9, Fra), Jiri Novak (10, Cze), Paradorn Srichaphan (11, Tha), Sjeng Schalken (12, Hol), David Nalbandian (13, Arg), Gustavo Kuerten (14, Bra), Fernando Gonzalez (15, Chi), Martin Verkerk (16, Hol), Tommy Robredo (17, Spain), Max Mirnyi (18, Blr), Agustin Calleri (19, Arg), Mark Philippoussis (20, Aus), Felix Mantilla (21, Esp), Younes El Aynaoui (22, Mar), Wayne Ferreira (23, RSA), Mardy Fish (24, US), Albert Costa (25, Esp), Marat Safin (26, Rus), Mariano Zabaleta (27, Arg), Yevgeny Kafelnikov (28, Rus), Feliciano Lopez (29, Esp), Gaston Gaudio (30, Arg), Arnaud Clement (31, Fra), Vincent Spadea (32, US).

Women: Kim Clijsters (1, Bel), Justine Henin-Hardenne (2, Bel), Lindsay Davenport (3, US), Venus Williams (4, US), Amelie Mauresmo (5, Fra), Jennifer Capriati (6, US), Anastasia Myskina (7, Rus), Chanda Rubin (8, US), Daniela Hantuchova (9, Svk), Magdalena Maleeva (10, Bul), Elena Dementieva (11, Rus), Conchita Martinez (12, Esp), Vera Zvonareva (13, Rus), Amanda Coetzer (14, RSA), Ai Sugiyama (15, Jap), Elena Bovina (16, Rus), Meghann Shaughnessy (17, US), Patty Schnyder (18, Sui), Nadia Petrova (19, Rus), Silvia Farina-Elia (20, Ita), Anna Pistolesi (21, Isr), Jelena Dokic (22, Yug), Nathalie Dechy (23, Fra), Paola Suarez (24, Arg), Eleni Daniilidou (25, Gre), Lina Krasnoroutskaya (26, Rus), Svetlana Kuznetsova (27, Rus), Lisa Raymond (28, US), Francesca Schiavone (29, Ita), Magui Serna (30, Esp), Alexandra Stevenson (31, US), Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian (32, Sui).

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