The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Agassi to take on Corretja in opener
- Tough draw for Andy Roddick l Top seed Clijsters plays wildcard entrant Liu

New York: Top seed Andre Agassi should face little trouble as he opens his US Open campaign next week after he was drawn against Alex Corretja in the first round on Wednesday.

Spaniard Corretja has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world but he has looked as though his mind is on other things since the birth of his first child, a daughter, in June.

He withdrew from Wimbledon and has won just two matches in four tournaments since then.

Second seed and Wimbledon champion Roger Federer faces another claycourter, Argentine Jose Acasuso, in what should also be a relatively straightforward opening against a baseliner.

However, fourth seed Andy Roddick faces a tough task at his home Grand Slam.

The American has been drawn against Britainís Tim Henman in the first round ó a player most seeds had been hoping to avoid.

A period of injury has seen Henmanís ranking slide to the mid-30s leaving him without a seeded spot in the draw but just last month he showed his mettle by storming to the title in Washington, defeating Roddick in the semi-finals.

However, the ATP said on Wednesday that if two seeded players dropped out of the main draw before Mondayís first round then Henman would be handed a seeded spot and would avoid the Roddick match-up.

In the womenís singles, top-seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters opens with a match against American wildcard Amber Liu while compatriot, and second seed, Justine Henin-Hardenne, must wait for her opponent after drawing a qualifier.

Third seed Lindsay Davenport meets yet another Belgian, the unheralded Els Callens while fourth seed and twice champion Venus Williams drew a qualifier.

Clijstersí boyfrend and former menís champion Lleyton Hewitt is seeded sixth this year. The Australian will face Romaniaís Victor Hanescu.

Michael Chang, awarded a wildcard for what will be his final US Open, drew 15th seed Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the first round.

Agassiís quarter contains Gonzalez as well as fifth-seeded Argentine Guillermo Coria and ninth-seeded Sebastien Grosjean.

The 33-year-old should not be too bothered by those defensive baseliners on the swiftish New York hardcourts, however a number of dangerous big servers including Britainís Greg Rusedski and American Taylor Dent lurk in his section.

Third seed Juan Carlos Ferrero heads the second quarter and meets another claycourter Guillermo Canas in Round I, while 2001 champion Hewitt and 2000 winner Marat Safin are also in the quarter.

The US Open runs from August 25 to September 8.

Neither reigning champion is defending their title ó Pete Sampras has not played competitively since winning at Flushing Meadows last year and Serena Williams is sidelined through injury.

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